Blog of a Writer on the Go and Barely Here.
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Looking for something more 'family-friendly'? Check out my Children's & Young Adult Blog:The Wide Writing World of Emily McKeon

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Have the Most Fabulous Novel in the World! Now What?

Today's post is going to be more of a list than an actual post.  I've had several requests for help with various pieces, from short stories to novels, from poetry to children's books.  While I'm always happy to take a look at a fellow writer's work, my opinion is only my opinion.  Often something I like someone else doesn't and vis versa.  My suggestion?  Get widely read.

  • Join a writer's group in your area.  Check your library as many host such groups.  If all else fails, start one of your own.
  • Take a creative writing course through a local college.  Not only will your work get read and critiqued, but you'll be able to learn more about writing and have a chance to hone your skills.
  • Online critique groups are popping up all over the place.  The biggest ones are run by publishers.  The publishers use them as a slush pile to search for publishable work.  Meanwhile, authors can get feed back and improve on their novels.  Check them out as you'll find some helpful information there:
          - Authonomy: Run by HarperCollins UK.  Must be over 18 to use this site.
          - BookCountry: This is Penguin's critique site.  They want writers to invest                         more time helping each other out.  Before someone is eligible to put                      their work up, they have to critique other writer's work.
          - Inkpop: Another HarperCollins site.  This one is aimed at teenage writers                          and writers of YA.  (Although users are teenagers.)
          - Agent Query Connect: This site is run by writers and mainly used for                              polishing a query before submitting, but they do have forums                                 where you can swap reads.
         - #amwriting: Another writer run website.  This is a spin-off from a Twitter                           hashtag.
         - Alliance of Worldbuilders: Spin-off site from Authonomy.  Group is                                focused on helping each other make their worlds more believable.
         - Sirra Girl: Editor extraordinaire.  Her blog is full of great tips.
         - Novel Publicity: Is a great resource for writers.  From promoting writers to                       Karmic Liking Fridays, this site is well worth the look

  • Enter writing contests.  They'll give you practice for submitting your work and some will give you feedback on what was good and what could be improved.

What I don't suggest?  Giving it only to family/friends who gush about how fabulous your writing is and never have any constructive criticism.  No agent wants to hear how much your mom/dad/sister/BFF/spouse LOVED your work and thinks it should be published.  If you plan to grow as a writer, you have to learn to take the good with the bad.

Have something to add?  Another writer's site or a different way to get readers?  Let me know!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Which Publishing Path to Choose

Since embarking on my quest to become a published author, I've been getting a lot of questions from friends and family about the process. Keeping in mind that I still haven't quite captured the allusive contract (although I'm very close) I decided to put together a few posts with advice and tips I've collected along the way.

First up is Traditional versus Self-Publishing.

Once you have a manuscript (MS) that you have edited and revised to the point you don't want to look at it anymore, and then edit and revised a couple more times, it's time to start thinking about publishing it.

There are two basic ways of getting published. Both have pros and cons to them and a lot depends on which way you feel the most comfortable.

You can self-publish through a service like CreateSpace or Lulu. This way means you take on all the costs of publishing the book and marketing it yourself, but is becoming more and more popular.

The traditional route means querying (sending letters) to agents & publishers and trying to get a contract. This method should cost you nothing, but it's much harder since agents and publishers are very selective.

I'm going the traditional route right now. It can be very time consuming, but I decided to go that route for several reasons:

  • Editing - my work will be looked at by another set of eyes and catch things I miss. If you self-pub, you can hire an editor to do this for you, but it can cost a bit. A lot of self-pubbers (but not all) skip doing this to save $ and end up with typos & plot issues. 
  • Contract - if I want to end up selling internationally or get a movie deal, an agent is the best way. Personally, I don't want to figure out all the negotiations necessary.
  • Marketing - even doing a traditional publishing I'll be expected to do some marketing for my work - signings, book talks, etc. Self-pubbing means I would have to do ALL the marketing work - setting up all the signings and book talks as well as getting my book into bookstores.
  • Validation - I admit, this is a bit of a shallow reason. Especially since there are a lot of self-pubbers who are really good. Part of me wants to make sure my work is good enough to sell and I'm not just fooling myself.
There are a lot of self-pubbers who can give you lists of reasons why they did it the other way. At this point, there is no right or wrong way to go about publishing. It all depends on you, what you're comfortable doing and where you want to spend your time/energy.
Self-pubbers - chime in and let us know why you chose to do it on your own!