My kids have all watched Disney Junior’s Special Agent Oso. I don’t know if your child has enjoyed this particular cartoon, but the main character, Oso, a special agent in training, accomplishes all manner of tasks in “three special steps”. So, as I am in the midst of getting The Lady Bornekova prepared for publication, it seems to me that this journey can fit into “three special steps”.
Step 1: Write your book
First you need an idea, inspiration. A story to tell. Characters. A plot. Then, at some point, you just have to start writing. There are many ways that writers go about writing. Some people use an outline. Some people just get right into it, and write from beginning to end. Some people, like Margaret Mitchell (author of Gone With the Wind) write from the end to the beginning. My husband is a fan of the “Snowflake Method“. I write with a different approach that seems to work for me. I make a list of scenes, some with a historical event attached to them. Then I will go through and fill in the scenes as I feel inspired. So, I might actually finish Chapter 3, for example, before Chapter 1 is completed. But the scenes for Chapter 1 are “ear-marked” already with my listing font/formatting.
Step 2: Get it published
Whoa, there, Sara! That’s actually a lot of steps in one. Well, if you’ve ever watched the show, Special Agent Oso’s Paw Pilot “cheats” this way too. 🙂
Okay, so you have your novel written. I would recommend you thoroughly pre-edit yourself and send it to perhaps three or more beta readers (one at a time) before you query it. So, you’ve done that. Now, you’ve got to write a query letter. I learned a LOT about writing query letters from a literary agent’s (named Query Shark) blog site.
After you’ve queried, comes the waiting. If you get a nibble or a bite, congrats!!! Now onto contracts. I have no particular advice for you here except to say READ IT CAREFULLY (always…for anything you sign) and research anything you don’t understand (again, common sense advice). Writer’s beware!
Now, if you haven’t been faithful with your pre-edits, now comes that hard work. Then comes more edits from an editor (this is where I am – going back and forth with the editor). And more work that I have yet to discover (cover art, proofs, galleys, etc – keep tuned in to my blog and I’ll continue sharing as I am on this journey).
Step 3: Market, market, market
This is a little misleading as a sequential step. As I understand it, marketing your book can begin as early as you’d like. But, perhaps not too much too early. I have very little idea as of yet what will be involved with this step. I know I’ll need to put together a media package. Probably do some sort of blog tour. Set up a writer’s platform (which I’m only beginning to understand what that means). Have a book trailer made. Among other things….Lord, help me! Do I have the stomach for all of that? I’m a writer, for crying out loud!! But I know I cannot, and should not, rely on the publisher to do all of the marketing for my book. A bit of that falls on my shoulders. If you are wise, you will realize this too. This industry is changing, so I keep being told. And we must flex with it.