Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Eleven Steps to Getting Published.

So You Want to be a Pro . . . ?
by Connie Flynn

Not in the world’s oldest profession way, of course, but as in professional writer . . . one who produces books regularly and, gasp, even gets paid for them.  The question always is, how do you get from rank beginner to a place where others pay you for your work?

It’s a simple path, but seldom an easy or one-step-follows-the-other process, and those who succeed almost always use these not-so-easy steps.

1.    Read, read, read.  Everything. Novels you love, novels you hate. Nonfiction in subject you love and those that bore you to death.  Newspapers, magazines, blogs.  Learn to recognize good writing and bad writing.

2.    By the time you get serious, choose a genre.  There are dozens. Way too many to cover here, but you need to know about them and if this is a foggy topic to you, start here. Everything seems to be well covered except for the romance genre, which is totally missing, so I found it elsewhere.

3.    Make sure the genre you choose to write is something you love reading or you’ll eventually hate your books. But if publication is your ultimate goal – and since you’re reading this blog, I suspect it is – it’s a good practice to write what is currently selling.

4.    When you’re educated about the marketplace, start getting familiar with the internal structure of a novel.  Just because you read them and have neat descriptions about theme and character building doesn’t mean you yet have the tools to do this yourself.

5.    Learn how to write a synopsis.  Boy oh boy, do writers hate those, but unless you self-publish – where, let’s face it, the publisher can read your mind – you’ll need to tell influential people about your book, clearly and with an entertaining voice.

6.    More and more writers are bypassing traditional publishers and putting their work out there as an independent publisher. This is, however, no license to ignore these steps because your first audience is your reader, the same one that traditional publishers are also aiming for, and they will judge you much more harshly if you slip up than they do the commercial publishers.

7.    Write your book.  Set a disciplined schedule.  If possible, do something on your book every day.

8    Finish your book.  Unless you have unusually good connections, your chances of selling an unfinished novel are nil.  So finish the baby.

9.    Revise your book, proofread it, then proofread it again.  The competition is so stiff these days you can’t afford to send out a sloppy manuscript.

10.    Don't let rejections or bad reviews get you down for long because some are harsh enough to send you into a  fetal position. Don’t indulge this urge more than a few days.  Submit again and keep submitting. If you're publishing independently, be careful not to dismiss the reviews. These are coming directly from your audience and you should study and learn from them. Just keep in an intellectual process, don't let them pierce your heart.

11.    There used to be six secret rules published authors never violate:  Write, write, write.  Submit, submit, submit.  Now there are nine: If you are an independent author, you must: publish, publish, publish. Do this repeatedly and well and you will succeed. And remember, you haven’t failed until you quit.

She woke up one morning on a Mississippi riverboat casino with a huge headache and no clue to who she was. With the help of new friends she rebuilt her life. Now, nearly two years later, a tall dark man with killer good looks comes after her. A bounty hunter, who claims she killed her father then ran out on her bail. She says he's got the wrong woman. He says she's guilty as sin. One of them is right . . .

Suddenly so many people are after her, she can't tell the good guys from the bad guys. But one thing she can do is KNOW WHEN TO RUN.

Award-winning, bestselling author Connie Flynn writes both long and short fiction and is published in multiple genres, including paranormal romance, romantic comedy, mystery and suspense, and contemporary fantasy/sci-fi. She lives in Arizona on a lush green park where she walks her dog and escapes from the hot desert sun. Her latest release is the-twists-and-turns romantic suspense, KNOW WHEN TO RUN.


Mary Tate Engels said...

Excellent list Connie. Of course, a book could be written about each one! The best advice is the last line.

Connie Flynn said...

You made me laugh. Not quitting is the best advice because I've seen people succeed after years of trying. Thanks for dropping in, Mary. See you soon.

Mary Tate Engels said...

Yes you will see me soon - I see you're coming to Tucson's RWA to give a couple of dynamite classes! Can't wait!