People often ask how someone as flaky as I am can pull it together and write a book. In the hopes that it might inspire others to go out and create new worlds of their own, here are the things I did to become a published author:
1) Read a lot of great content. This is as important as the writing itself. Read with passion and learn continuously.
2) Schedule blocks of time for writing. This includes unplugging from the outside world, logging off the internet, turning off the phone. Hard to do, but those distractions really add up. Writing fiction requires immersion in another world, which takes considerable focus and concentration.
3) Generate a manuscript. Woody Allen has said that others are willing to help, but your project has to be solid enough, and you have to do the work first. Once you have your manuscript ready, have an ideal reader and an editor go through it. Make edits until it’s polished enough for the next level.
4) Submit the manuscript to a fiction contest and follow the process, because you never know what may happen. In my case, a friend suggested entering Gumbeaux in the 2011 Readers Favorite fiction contest. I was very shocked to win a gold medal for my genre. Part of the winnings included assistance in generating a query, which they then sent off to literary agencies all over the nation. It was because of this query that I met my agent and became part of the WordServe community.
5) Listen to counsel and check your ego at the door. Agents, editors and real friends are there to help you and to tell you the truth, not just what you want to hear. Being open to constructive feedback and applying advice as appropriate will only improve your writing. I love the changes I have seen unfold as a result of this process and so does my audience.
6) Attend writing seminars and learn about your options. Through local San Diego workshops, I have garnered a great deal of information about publishing and marketing. Publishers and Writers of San Diego has been a great resource. Decide on your goals for your writing and determine how much you are prepared to spend, if any, on launching your book.
7) Being unable to find a publisher is no longer a show stopper. Although I would love to one day be part of a traditional publishing house, that is yet to come. Until the right opportunity arises, I have chosen to self-publish. The flexibility and control an author has with today’s self publishing options is unprecedented. Why not explore the possibilities? If your goal is merely to create a book to share with family and friends, it’s never been easier to make it happen.
These steps are to share where I am in the writing journey. There is a long way to go, and because I plan to do this forever, there really isn’t any rush. I guess my characters do have more of a sense of urgency, because they want to be commemorated – but that’s another story…