We all know I’m trying to get published, but there’s more to that than writing and platform building. So… what steps am I actually taking?

You’ve seen me on social media lately, trying to build that precious platform. 

You’ve seen me doing my darndest to churn out just 2 blog posts a month (not as easy as you may think).

You may have even signed up for the newsletter, which is getting more fun as I get a feel for what to put in it (Don’t miss out on that bonus flash fiction! Sign up!)

In the meantime, you know I participated in NaNoWriMo (a writing challenge) to blast through the first draft of a completely new novel in November 2020. 

But… what am I doing to actually get published? 

Since I haven’t done a “My Journey” post in so long, I thought it was high time to update you all.

 

The Facts

 

My pitch to a literary agent last spring went exceedingly well. It did a lot to give me confidence, both in my ideas and how to present them in a face-to-face setting. I’ve decided it doesn’t make a lot of sense to sink endless time into notoriously ignored query letters when a speaking pitch is clearly more likely to succeed. 

So, why haven’t I pitched again? 

 

  • really liked the agent I saw, although I realize she may be too busy to take me on literally ever. I wanted to give her time before going elsewhere.
  • I did a little panic editing (oops) before sending in my manuscript last time, and there are things I want to go back and fix before submitting FORBIDDEN again (but I’ve been caught up in this whole platform thing).
  • I want to have more than one completed manuscript to offer next time.
  • CROSSED LINES, my NaNoWriMo project, was a then-theoretical book idea that the agent I pitched got super excited about. While I can’t pitch her FORBIDDEN again, it wouldn’t be against industry etiquette to pitch her something new… and I can’t help but want to give pitching that agent one more try.

 

The Plan 

Obviously, I’m trying to build up that social media platform and newsletter subscriber list. The more marketable I can prove myself, the better my chances with both literary agents and publishers. If I do decided to self-publish one day, having those things established will help me get the word out that the book is available. It’s an all-around win.

As for writing, CROSSED LINES is going to take a few redrafts, edits, and beta readers before it will be ready for any kind of submission. FORBIDDEN needs some touch ups, and I’d really like to redraft the sequel (Oh yes… the sequel, UNION, has a first draft!)

Then, it’s all about coming up with those elevator pitches, extended pitches, formal synopses and book blurbs, all of that fun stuff… and it will be time to pitch again!

The more common way to solicit literary agents is the “query letter,” essentially the pitch in an email, but it is notoriously difficult to stand out that way. While live pitches certainly take a greater financial investment– tickets to a writers conference plus an additional fee, as opposed to a free email submission– they also give the agent an impression of how serious the writer is about committing to this writing as a career. Plus, perhaps rather ironically, I do better at interviews than written applications.

 

The Challenge 

 

The biggest challenge? TIME. 

Historically I’ve been pretty excited to carve out just an hour or two solid in one day for my writing. Now that I’ve got the added burden of platform building, PLUS I’ve started homeschooling my first grader… well, let’s just say I’m crunched. NaNoWriMo was a miracle.

What I need to do is assign sacred hours to my writing that other responsibilities can’t usurp. Then I need to assign hours to those other responsibilities so they don’t fall by the wayside… and, you know, it’d be nice to still have time to chill with my family. Sigh.

The other thing I really need to do is set a goal: a deadline for the final drafts of FORBIDDEN and CROSSED LINES. Otherwise, it’ll be years before I’m ready to present them. Gosh darn it y’all, I’m ready to get this thing moving! The problem is, I hesitate, because I don’t want to pressure myself into neglecting the people I love to pursue my books.

The other challenge? I keep having new ideas!! It’s so hard to keep focus!

 

How can YOU help?

 

Believe it or not, you can help A LOT. The best part? It’s easy stuff with big impact.

Like, comment, and share! To be visible on Facebook, I need activity on my posts. Facebook literally HIDES my posts from people if some unknown percentage of my followers aren’t liking, commenting, and sharing. It’s called “engagement” and without it, I’m a ghost. Please, pretty please, click the like button! I love comments! Share with your pals! You have no idea how happy it makes me. Truly.

Open the newsletter! The email overlords keep track of the percentage of emails I send out vs. how many are opened by subscribers. A bad ratio gets my emails flagged as spam… leading to even fewer opens as my emails land in your spam boxes. As much as I’d love you to read and respond to my letters, if you even just open it and click back to your inbox, it really does help me.

Respond to polls! Sometimes I put polls in the newsletter or open questions on social media. If I’m asking, it’s because I really need input from you! I always appreciate so, so much when I get feedback.

 

 

 

And One Day…

I’m still not 100% set on what route I want to take with these books (traditional publishing vs. self-publishing). There are very significant pros and cons to both. Yet there’s a certain… validation in being traditionally published, and there’s no chance of it if I flunk at the indie thing first, so that’s what I’m pursuing. 

I’ve got a lot on my to-do list, but also a lot of support and encouragement from you all out there. I really can’t tell ya how much I love you all for that.

Thanks for your patience as I figure all of this stuff out. I can’t wait to share all my stories with you.

 

 

What are your goals for the new year? Let’s talk– drop a comment below!

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