You’ve finished your first novel, you’ve edited and revised it at least a couple times, and now you want to get it published. You’ve checked and double checked to make sure you didn’t miss a terrible mistake. The feeling of being closer to your dream than you’ve ever been has sunk in and it’s almost too good to be true! You’re one step away from being published, and that step is getting and agent and, well, actually being published!
There’s gotta be more though, right?
On a random weekday night after 10:00 PM, I was ecstatic to have finally finished my novel to the best that I felt I could do on my own (minus the fantastic grammatical editing job a mentor and friend did). Then, I started reading nonstop about agents, publishing houses, and all the random things I could learn along the way. The thing is, I felt as if there was more I could and SHOULD do before I send it to agents. What, though? As a “nobody” I didn’t feel I had many options.
Oh, was I wrong. I discovered, surprsingly of my own imagination and then the Internet, there’s quite a few things to do before you seek to be published. I thought up ideas, created new platforms where I needed to, and found the Internet said all the things I’d chosen to do were accurate. Still, there was more and IS more I need to do!
That’s why I’ve provided a quick list below of some of the things I’ve found pertinent to the prior stages of being published.
1. Social Media. Twitter is a massive platform for writers, and Instagram has definitely flourished as well. Basically, build yourself an empire of social media to post updates, tidbits, an announcements. Things I’ve done like creating a Facebook Author page, a (somewhat) active Twitter, posting Instagram pictures and using key hashtags (#selfie… not!) and Pinterest have helped. I could definitely afford to be more proactive on them, but that’s where I’m learning!
With social media, though, it’s not about just you. If you want people to support you, you have to support them! Follow people, like their pictures, comment—genuinely, not generic—on posts, share their stuff! On Twitter, people are usually generous in their follows. Interact with people of similar interests, be it books, genres, authors, etc. These people will get to know you as you get to know them, they’ll feel comfortable with you, and in return they will read your book when you announce it! Be genuine though, please!
Also, groups and chats are a great place to start! Join writing groups on Facebook to build relationships (also plays into my number 2 on the list) and participate in weekly chats on Twitter like Story Social Chat, LitChat, Scribechat, and so much more!
2. Get to know people. Get to know other authors and writers. They’ll make for great connections, friends, supporters, and help! Social media is good for this too, of course, and will provide ample opportunity to connect with writers! Join groups, participate in live chats, ask questions, and support, support, support! You reap what you sow!
3. Build a website. Whether you hire someone to do it for you or you do it for yourself, a good quality, resourceful website will do you good. Post content that others want to read, give people a reason to subscribe to you, and promote your writing!
As you can see I’ve taken advantage of this step, as well as the other ones. While I’m still learning and growing, it’s about doing what you can with what you have and making more to do more with! The topic of a successful website is a long and detailed post in itself, but let this be your trigger to go forth and start your own.
4. Write and publish short stories. This is my own personal adventure right now, and something I recommend you try doing no matter what stage of your career you’re in! If you have short stories or you’ve wanted to write one, I recommend doing it and submitting to literary journals/magazines. There are nearly endless magazines out there! Once you have polished short stories, send them off to take your chances. Persevere through rejections, because they sure come, and rejoice when you receive victory!
5. Wattpad. This one is not necessary, nor entirely important, but it has launched me into some great relationships with potential readers. This site is super supportive, and you can find many dear friends among the members. You can write stories, read other’s writing, and participate in forums and social “clubs” as they are called. You can find me on Wattpad often, even if I’m not writing every time I’m on! I thoroughly enjoy the conversations that take place.
There are so many things you can do to prepare yourself as a writer! Even in my list of 5, there are multiple steps and paths to take along each one, and they can be quite time consuming. Once you learn to balance that time and make the most out of it (which I’m still touching up the kinks in this myself) then you’ll find yourself operating like a piece of high-tech machinery! Only, you’re real and GENUINE! Remember, support, be genuine, and be supported.
Hope this helped spark some ideas and answer some questions for you wonderful people. Leave comments with any other questions, or just to show some… ahem, support 😉