Thursday, October 11, 2012

The last step of getting published

by Stephanie Morrill

Today's the last post in the how to get your novel published series. So far we've covered:


7. Work hard to make connections and build your presence.

To achieve step 6 - acquire a literary agent - you likely already had to put yourself out there. For quite awhile I believed that once I acquired a literary agent, I would no longer need to put myself out there. My job - in my eyes - would be to write the books so he or she could sell them.

While writing the books is certainly necessary, you don't get to go into hibernation now that you have an agent. Here's why:
  1. As an unpublished author, your agent's primary role is certainly to find you a publishing house. They have the contacts to make that happen, but you can help them and you out by being a good product for them to sell. They need you to be growing your following and future readership. Yes, they need your book to be great, but a writer with the complete package - a great book AND marketability - is far easier to sell.
  2. While you get to benefit from the relationships your agent has built, and while they can often get you into doors you couldn't walk through yourself, don't underestimate the value of you having a relationship with an editor. If they've met you face-to-face at a writer's conference or something, it's an opportunity to deepen their interest in you and your manuscript. It's possible your agent sent it to them months ago, but they'd completely forgotten about it until they met you in person, saw your passion for it, saw how fun you'd be to work with. Now it's on their radar because you reached out.
  3. Your agent sells manuscripts for you ... but selling the books is your job. Which is where your relationships, your contacts, your efforts can really pull their weight. Going back to writer's conferences, it's been valuable for me to meet with editors and industry professionals, but it's also been really important that I get to know other writers as well. Sometimes I'm able to help them, and sometimes they're able to help me. 
One of the tough and fun things about writing is that you never really "arrive." You'll be growing as a writer until you take your last breath. And the same goes for the business side. There will always be relationships to nurture, contacts to make, and hands to shake. 

One more thing that I can't bear to leave out of this series - I believe to the core of my being that if I can get published, anyone can. When I started walking down the path of publication, the only thing I had to my name  was a love for writing stories and a desire to be a novelist.

I wasn't an exceedingly gifted writer. I didn't know anyone even remotely involved in the industry, and I hadn't a clue about where to begin. I didn't know literary agents existed or what an unsolicited manuscript was or even what genre I wrote. Yet I somehow stumbled through steps 1-7 and found myself with these:

My first series side-by-side with their Dutch-language counterparts :)

I know it can seem daunting, but if you have the strength to withstand critiques, to keep improving as a writer, and the unquenchable desire to be published, it'll happen for you too.

22 comments:

  1. This series has been both eye-opening and encouraging. It's fueled my desire to go beyond just writing first drafts, then storing them on my bookshelf out of fear no one will like them.
    I'm still in the 2nd draft stage of my first book, but I'm excited about every step of the process! So thank you!

    P.S. How cool is it that your books (which I LOVE) are in Dutch, too?? :)

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    1. Thanks Anna! I'm so glad you've been encouraged.

      And the Dutch thing came totally out of the blue. It's really fun to connect with my Dutch readers, though :)

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  2. I've really been enjoying these posts. While I knew most of this material already, you presented it in such an encouraging way. Thanks Stephanie!
    ~Sarah Faulkner

    www.inklinedwriters.blogspot.com

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  3. Thanks for writing this series for us! Very helpful to learn now and not have to learn later :)

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    1. Yes, Amanda. I usually learned by doing it the wrong way first ;) This is definitely preferable!

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  4. Thank you so much for this series, Stephanie! I'd really been curious about this whole thing when you started the series. :)

    Rosie
    writingsofrosie.blogspot.com

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  5. Thank you so much for posting these! They have all been extremely inspiring. Though I am still at Step 1 writing 5000 words per month, it is great to know all these things because it truly makes me feel one step closer to being published.

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    1. We all start at step 1 :) Glad you've felt inspired!

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  6. Wow, I didn't know that they were in Dutch! Cool!

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    1. I know! It was total random and exciting when I got the email saying the rights had been bought by a Dutch publisher.

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  7. You don't know how encouraging those last two paragraphs are. Thank you so much! And all this information is unbelievably helpful. I will definitely be coming back here at each stage of the publishing process to refresh myself with your advice. :D

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  8. I love seeing book covers from other countries. They always show the book slightly different than they do in American and it makes me wonder what about their culture made them market it that way. Anyone else?

    Thanks for the last part, I've just been feeling defeated & like I'm wasting my time bc it just won't happen for me and like I don't have "it" such a blah day for me. Trying to turn those thoughts around

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    1. Me too! :) I wonder about *everything*...

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    2. I know, it was so fun to see the covers! The flowers crack me up. My American publisher put hibiscus on there to hint at the Hawaii thing, of course. I don't think the Dutch publisher knew what to do with that :) They did other random flowers.

      I've had some blah days recently too, Tonya. Hopefully I can turn my attitude around too :)

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    3. Aww shucks. I was reading in a book that if theres specific thoughts getting you down to take index cards or something like it. Write the thoughts down and the write a counter positive thought/truth. I'm giving it a try.

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  9. Best blog post title ever. :)

    I pretty much second what everyone else said (this has been a very encouraging series) and add my own thank you. :)

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  10. Wow! Seeing your books in a line like that is completely awesome. I would LOVE to be able to do that to mine someday. Love the steps. I learnt such a lot through this series!!

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  11. Thank you for this, Stephanie! It's been really helpful, and this post was really inspiring.

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  12. Really funny to see your books in Dutch (my native tongue), completely surrounded by English. That's just what the world is nowadays ;)

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