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Lynda Rees was born in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky. She is an award-winning Novelist. The author of “God Father’s Day;” “Madam Mom;” “Parsley, Sage, Rose, Mary & Wine;” and several others in The Bloodline Series of horse country-Kentucky suspense novels. Her latest is “Horseshoes & Roses.” Her books can be found at http://amazon.com/author/lyndarees
POST 1 – WRITING, READING AND PUBLISHING
For the most part writing is a solitary business. We spend countless hours pouring our hearts out to a keyboard because we have much to say and a desperate need to tell the story. It takes guts to begin and even more to finish a piece of work. It’s important as a writer that we acknowledge the successes along the way.
As you type THE END, take the time to celebrate. It doesn’t matter how you choose to do it, only that you do. Have a cappuccino or glass of wine. Buy a new pair of shoes or dress. Go on a cruise—whatever you want to do and can afford to mark the occasion in some meaningful fashion. Pat yourself on the back. Your accomplishment is noteworthy.
Now comes the hard part. The re-read and/or rewrite and the editing process are brutal but necessary steps to perfecting our work to make it reader-worthy. Take a long, hard, unbiased look at your manuscript, and do a thorough edit. Take out redundancies. Fix grammar errors. Remove “edit-out words.” (If you want a copy of my edit-out word list, email me. I’m happy to share it. email@example.com)
Then re-read it again to find holes where you can boost emotion. Check POV. Ensure there are no inconsistencies and no confusion. Make sure everything makes sense and all loose ends are tied up.
It’s perfect now. Right?
Wrong. As hard as you are on yourself and try to see it through the eyes of a reader, there’s no way you can be completely objective. This is your baby we’re talking about. You gave birth to this work. This is where you need to engage beta readers and/or a trusted group of critique partners. Ask them to read and provide constructive criticism. It may hurt at times, but it’s a gift when done with tact and a helpful frame of mind. Once you have their feedback make necessary changes.
Now it’s time to engage a professional editor. Don’t try to skip this stage. Depending on who you use, it can be expensive. In the long run it’s worth every penny. Take the editor’s advice. After all, you hired this professional and trusted them with your creation. An editor knows what will make it print-ready or submit-able and saleable.
It’s finally time to submit your finished manuscript. This is where your work description changes. Until now you’ve been a writer. Now you need to sell your work. There are different ways to do that, either in traditional publishing through and agent or direct to a publisher who accepts submissions from authors. Most require agent submissions only, and some only look at recommended works. You can sell to a small-press publication. Or you can self-publish your work. Take the time to weigh pros and cons of each publishing method, then go to work at your new job—book sales person.
Lynda Rees was born in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky. She is an award-winning Novelist. The author of “God Father’s Day;” “Madam Mom;” “Parsley, Sage, Rose, Mary & Wine;” and several others in The Bloodline Series of horse country-Kentucky suspense novels. Her latest is “The Bloodline Trail.” Her books can be found at http://amazon.com/author/lyndarees
POST 2 – SUBMISSION AND PUBLISHING
You have perfected your manuscript and now it’s finally time to submit your finished manuscript. This is where your work description changes. Until now you’ve been a writer. Now you need to sell your work to become an author.
There are different ways to do that, either in traditional publishing through and agent or direct to a publisher who accepts submissions from authors. Most require agent submissions only, and some only look at recommended works. You can sell to a small-press publication. Or you can self-publish your work. Take the time to weigh pros and cons of each publishing method, then go to work at your new job—book sales person.
Big press, traditional publishers mostly require submissions through agents. They use standard contracts which are designed by their legal teams to benefit them. They aren’t trying to cheat you or be unfair, but they aren’t working for you. They are seeking the most beneficial deal and terms for themselves. Always read the contracts thoroughly and engage the services of an attorney, preferably an entertainment attorney well versed in industry practices. Be sure you understand the timelines and stipulations, as well as what rights you are signing over to them. You may not want to give them all rights—maybe only eBook and print in English speaking areas and not worldwide rights or media/movie rights. You may want your agent to sell those rights separately for you. Understand how you’ll be paid, record keeping, what happens if the publisher goes under, and how long they have the rights to your book should it go out of publication.
Think each stipulation through and be sure you are happy with the terms. If not, this is the time to speak up. Ask for revisions and be clear why. Most often they will be willing to work with you for a contract satisfactory to everyone.
Large publishers most often offer up front advances for works they purchase. They provide professional editor services and cover artwork. They put effort toward getting your book into catalogues so it will end up in stores and libraries. They sometimes submit your work to reviewers and help with efforts to get it onto best seller lists. Find out what public relations and marketing work they intend to put toward your work, and how you can participate. You will need to do much of the marketing on your own, but ensure you are not duplicating effort.
Small press publishers mostly accept direct author submissions. Some pay advances but most these days don’t. Some publish only eBooks. Others publish both eBooks and print. Only sell them rights to what you know they will publish. The same thing goes for contracting with them, as with large press publishers. Understand what you are agreeing to, and seek legal help.
Vanity presses are publishers who only publish when you invest, or pay for their services. I do not recommend this method of publishing.
Self-publishing or indi-publishing is another way to go. In this case, you are the agent, and the publisher. You can do as much or as little as you want in the process. There are many find editors, formatters, author assistants and artists out there you can hire to help. Or you can learn to do all of these steps, or whichever of them you want to learn to do on your own. It is totally up to you. You are also the sole marketer, PR representative, and book seller. Not only do you reap all the rewards, the success of your work is largely up to your efforts. This is a time-consuming, complex process; however, it’s not all that difficult once you learn the skills and steps involved.
So you’re published. Your role has changed. You are no longer just a writer. You are officially an author. The writing and publishing part of your work is over. You’re ready to change hats again.
You’re in the publishing business. You’ve gone publish. You’ve exposed your guts and the work that came from your soul to the public. You may be out of your comfort zone.
Whether you enjoy it or not, your job now is to publicize, market and convince the public to spen hard-earned dollars to read your work. The fun begins!
Lynda Rees was born in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky. She is an award-winning Novelist. The author of “God Father’s Day;” “Madam Mom;” “Parsley, Sage, Rose, Mary & Wine;” and several others in The Bloodline Series of horse country-Kentucky suspense novels. Her latest is “Real Money.” Her books can be found at http://amazon.com/author/lyndarees
My article for writers, CONTEST/NO CONTEST, is featured on the Serious Reading blog. Check it out.
CONTEST – NO CONTEST
Your finished manuscript has been edited to within an inch of its life. You’ve taken well-meaning criticism and feedback from your critique partners, beta readers and editor. Now what?
You’re ready to submit to contests, publish or submit to agents or publishers. A select few publishers accept author submissions, though the vast majority, require submissions through agents.
Whether you’re a seasoned, published author or an unpublished newbie, you may want to consider entering contests. There are many wonderful contests available to you. They are generally inexpensive to enter. If you enter, be sure you diligently follow guidelines to the letter. Any deviation from the guidelines will result in rejection.
Why enter contests?
As far as I’m concerned, there are a couple substantial reasons to consider entering.
1) If you’re lucky enough to win, final or place, you have the ability to advertise your work and yourself as “award winning.” Some even provide banners or logos to use in advertising your accolades. This can influence readers to buy your book, agents to consider representation, and publishers to buy your work.
2) Another perk of entering whether you win or not is you get the opportunity to have other authors, your peers, editors and agents read your manuscript. Their feedback can help perfect your manuscript if you take their advice. There’s also the possibility a judging agent or editor may request your manuscript or offer you a deal.
As an author, it’s important to grow a thick skin. Take feedback and glean tidbits of gold from it to improve your writing. Disregard the rest. Learn to let it roll off your shoulders. Don’t take it personally.
The groups running contests offer them for our benefit as authors to help perfect our craft and expose our work to industry professionals. It’s well-meaning. They generally take great pains to train judges diligently on how to provide useful, actionable critiques. Mostly this works to our advantage, but occasionally we receive harsh criticism anyway.
It wasn’t meant as a personal affront. Though they are trained, judges are still human, with all the same issues and pressures we all have in our lives. Feedback is subjective. Tastes vary.
Look at the overall advice. Take the good from it. Forget the rest.
If you see a pattern of advice concerning a specific subject (say POV), there are many inexpensive, online classes offered by RWA and its chapters. Take advantage of them. Like any other career, writing well requires continual learning, if for no other reason than to keep up with our ever-changing industry.
By Lynda Rees, firstname.lastname@example.org
Uncaged Book Reviews
For my author friends, this emotional thesaurus is a great help.
More great help for writers. Check out this link.
The business of publishing link below was very helpful to me as a newbie.
Chicago Manual Of Style Online
ceceliamecca.com Inspiration for Writers and Readers