It’s that time again. I’ve been reminded by my very capable VA (virtual assistant), Emilie, that I promised another installment for the blog. Thank goodness, she’s on top of such things. And last time, I wrote about what happens when someone tells me they might like to write a book. This time, I think we’ll continue in that vein. What is the logical next step?
What genre do you want to write? I’m partial to romance. But there are so many other possibilities… paranormal, non-fiction, biography, etc. This is your book, so following the first rule of writing… write something you love to read… you should be off to good start with your genre chosen.
Are you going to publish traditionally or go the indie route? Traditional is where you usually write your manuscript and then seek an agent to represent your work to the world of publishers. The indie route is when you decide that you will be your own representative and submit your writing to a list of publishers that hopefully, you have researched and will follow their submission guidelines to the letter.
This is where I will take a side detour. Those of you who have read some previous blogs know that I like to do that. When I first began, I did my research. I read all sorts of articles about publishing and agents and all the rest. I made an informed decision that since I was most definitely a newbie, I needed to go the traditional route with someone who would be my champion and open those doors, etc. I made a list of four agents that seemed best suited for my needs. I then followed their rules and sent off my query letters. Two never responded… totally unprofessional in my book. One wrote back and said she was closing her submission list for a couple of months… contact her later. The other agent requested a full read of my manuscript.
This is where I remind you of another important caveat in writing… trust your gut instincts. You should find an agent who is on top of the latest trends in the publishing world–has a proven track record in the genre in which you write. Ask for recommendations–speak to some of the authors they represent (your selection). Most authors will have no problems helping you out. A good agent will stay in touch with you, not just up to point of sale and then when the checks come in. They should be interested in not just the project you have going at the current time, but will want to know what you’re planning next. They’ll be on top of the ever changing ‘wants’ in the publishing world… cowboys are ‘in’; vampires are ‘out’; series are ‘in’… etc. They attend conferences where they network with publishers and editors on a regular basis. They advocate for YOU and your work. They are agents… not authors, not editors, etc. They are there to open doors and sell you and your work. They are there to advise and help you chart the best course for your next book and your next and so forth and so on. If there are red flags in any of these areas… STOP. Ask tough questions and trust your gut. Voice any concerns. This is your career. And you can make changes in your ‘team’ when things are not progressing. Be professional always but don’t be afraid to speak up.
Next time, we’ll talk about what happens after you submit your manuscript. Until then, keep writing each day and always keep reading!