Have you decided to write a book?
Congratulations! Feel free to call yourself a “writer.” You are one!
When it comes to getting your book published, it is really important that you understand diligence is the key to the making of an author. The process to becoming a published author can take at least a year-and-a-half to two years. Note the words “at least,” so you need to be patient.
Here are five steps to getting your book published:
1. Find your niche
Research different genres and sub-genres in order to discover which one you feel most comfortable writing. The genre that you, yourself, love to read, is most likely the genre that you would most enjoy writing.
You may even experience “writer’s block.” It kind of feels like you have hit a wall and there is neither a door nor a way around it. This can be an extremely frustrating time for writers. A few techniques in finally getting through that wall are:
- Write whatever words pop into your head. We humans are always thinking and therefore, our heads are always full of words.
- You can Google sentence starters or you can visit my blog at Rumki where I provide some ideas.
- Give your mind a break, drink a beverage, look through a photo album, bake brownies. Inspiration is like giving birth, it will come when it is ready. You can’t force it.
- Take any object for ex. a pen, a vase, a sofa, and describe it, in writing. This is excellent practice for imagery and sensory, among other literary techniques.
- Outline your story. Some writers like to draw a mind map. Others prefer a chapter-by-chapter list of events. Some might even use a story diagram which looks something like this:
Note: Google has so many of these templates you can use. Find the template that you feel most comfortable with.
2. Write like your heart is on fire
If you are passionate about what you’re writing, you will get into the flow. You will have written a first draft!
3. Edit, edit, edit
Once you have written your first draft, check your punctuation, spelling, grammar and consistency. You should double-check, triple-check, thereby creating second and third drafts for a polished manuscript. This is why you should write something that you, yourself, would love to read over… and over again.
Some writers even take their manuscript to writing workshops. Some ask family and friends for constructive feedback. Some, like myself, ask their old teachers for feedback. I even have a network of published authors and writers, who I trust to read my manuscript. Refined work is readable work!
4. Self-publish or traditional-publish?
You need to decide how you wish to get published. Do you want to self-publish or traditionally-publish? Self-publishing is self-explanatory. If you choose this route, understand that you will be spending money in order to make money. If you self-publish, you should also bulk order copies of your published book and sell them yourself, at different events and book fairs. You will also need to market and publicize your book, yourself.
On the other hand, if you traditionally-publish your book, the agent and publishing company do all the hard work for you. Find yourself a literary agent and/or a publishing company that accepts unagented/unsolicited manuscripts. Either way, you will need to understand the following:
- Have a complete full manuscript, a one-page synopsis and a query letter ready for submission.
- The manuscript, if otherwise specified, should be font type-Times New Roman, font size-12 and format-double-spaced.
- The query letter should address the specific agent or editor of your specified genre, the working title of your manuscript, its target readership, its word-count, a one-paragraph plot description and one paragraph of your biography. End it with something like, “I hope you will consider representing/publishing my manuscript and I am open to constructive feedback.”
- Always read the exact requirements for submission/querying. Some agents/publishers will, for example, require you to attach your work to the email, while others will want a sample and synopsis copied and pasted directly into the body of the email.
5. The waiting game
Don’t just wait around for responses. They will come, some quicker than others. Those that come quickly are most likely rejections. Rejection is never personal!
I have submitted my work to two different literary agents in the same company. While one rejected my work instantly, the other asked to read my full manuscript. If agents have rejected your work, it doesn’t mean your work isn’t good enough. Think of an agent not just as a professional, but also as an avid reader. Just as you have your own specific taste in books, so do they.
As stated earlier, don’t just wait around. That will drive you mad! Remember, your manuscript is among hundreds… thousands of submissions. It will take time to get around to reading yours.
- If you have a blog or social media, keep writing and posting.
- Submit your manuscript to different writing contests.
- Contribute articles to different media sources, either online or in-print.
- Network with other writers and authors.
- Work on your next manuscript.
- Enter writing contests like the Nisa Hub Annual Writing Contest