It takes a village…

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My office today.

Today I’m coming to you from Disney’s Polynesian Resort! My family is on vacation and are enjoying Central FL. Today in particular, my husband and I are having a writing date at the Polynesian Resort, followed by lunch at the Kona Cafe (in about an hour). So, this is my office today. It’s nice to get out and have a change of scenery. It’s also been nice to be away away from the kiddos for a writing date. It gives me a chance to really sit and think.

So, as I sit and think over my journey, I’m coming to realize all of the people that go into making a book happen. And all the more as I’m working on subsequent novels. Let’s see if we can go through the list…

Writer – First there’s me, the writer. Story’s gotta come from somewhere, right? The writer has to first be inspired to write. Do we write what we know? Sometimes. Probably more often than we admit. But I, in particular, have a Biology degree and experience in Sleep Medicine and Zoo Education and I write Historical Fiction with meaningful romances….go figure. But I have developed a great love of history and historical places as I have traveled and do a ton of research as I write.

Beta Readers – Next come in my Beta Readers. These are friends with whom I share my work and accept very valid feedback from. One of my beta readers is an avid reader of many different types of books. She is invaluable for helping make sure the reading is “smooth” for the reader and makes sense. She also helps give me feedback on speaking in the time period. She does have a History degree 🙂 Another Beta Reader has an English degree. She is great for content feedback and telling me where the story needs to expand and where story lines have been left a little thin. My other Beta Reader is also my Proofreader. She is great for grammar, commas (My name is Sara and I have a comma problem), and other types of story feedback. They are each so valuable to me…my novels are what they are because of these three ladies. Can’t forget my sounding board, faithful hubs, though. He is great and wonderful at giving instant feedback.

Critique Group/Critique Partner – I also attend a writing group in my hometown where we share scenes and receive and give regular feedback. Our fearless leader has just critiqued the first four chapters of Trail of Fears in detail to prepare it for submission to the agent I met at the writer’s conference last week. Her thoughts and suggestions are priceless to me. She is also an author who has published and is currently working on her next book. Hubs and I just love, love, love our critique group. The folks involved are so talented. It is a highlight of our week.

EditorsEditors only make your work stronger (I can say that about everyone else too), but I strongly encourage you to keep this in mind about editors. So far, The Lady Bornekovaon it’s way to publication,  has been through three editors (and I think that’s it…I hope). A content editor (who examines character and story believability, continuity, etc), a line editor (who is more concerned with grammar, did you use the right word, is there a better word, etc), and a proofing editor (I haven’t gotten those edits back yet, so I’m in the dark about what that editor’s specific job is).

Publisher – Of course you need the publisher! But I will say that I have particularly enjoyed working with my publisher. Any time I have a question or just need some reassurance about something, I can shoot my publisher an e-mail and she gets back to me in a day or two. She is great!

Agent – I don’t have one yet. But I pitched Trail of Fears to an agent at the writer’s conference and he wants more information from me (yay!). I am still researching why I would need an agent since I am already “in” with a publisher who likes my writing and, so far, I have a good working relationship with. Agents know the ins and outs of contracts in a way authors just don’t. They can also open more doors than I as a writer can. So, I’m still thinking on it.

Marketing Team – In today’s world, more of the marketing is on the author’s shoulders. The Publisher will do some of the marketing, but some of it is left up to me. For me, I’ll be going on a Virtual Book Tour (Blog Tour) this summer!!! I am using a Blog Tour service, for example, to assist me with setting up the blogs and tour package stuff. More on this service and the blog tour to come!!

And I know I’m forgetting someone…or some people. There are Mentors and those who run Writer’s Conferences and those who share their nuggets of wisdom at said conferences to name a few. It really does take a village to raise an author. Not to even mention all of you who inspire characters and add to the life experiences of writers that make them who they are and contribute to their works. So, keep being funny, dramatic, melancholy, inspiring….you.

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