One of the most-asked questions I get is, “How did you do it?” How did I get a book published, how long did it take, and what tips do I offer to people who want to head down the same path?
The day after April Fool’s Day my first, traditionally published book released into the world.
It’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, in local bookstores across the country; really it’s wherever books are sold … and I’m elated to see this dream of mine happen.
However, it was a long, several-year process of intentional pitching my book idea to agents, editors, publishers, and then refining the project so that it would be not only understandable and readable, but marketable to the public.
So I want to share some of my best tips to making this dream come true, if it’s one you have, as well!
I strongly believe that we moms need to do some self-care, and that includes chasing after our hopes and dreams. I also believe we need to rally around other moms and cheer each other on. So this is me doing that for you…
Take these tips and run with it, mama! I got your back!
Network with other writers.
And along these lines, come to terms with the fact that NOBODY is your competition. There is room for all writers out there in our world today. That includes YOU, that includes the other writer out there writing the same style as you, that includes the grant writer who you may never know exists.
As long as there are people, there will be people to read your words. So make friends who are in the same boat as you.
My writing networks are the only reason I’ve been able to continue on and hit major writing and book publishing goals. My writer friends have encouraged me, guided me, advised me, and introduced me to others that were key to the journey.
Don’t be afraid to throw yourself out there.
Just because you have something published, doesn’t mean people will read it. The “build it and they will come” motto falls flat here. If you write it, then they will not necessarily come. So you’re going to have to market your work, speak about it, and share about it. And, unfortunately, most publishers rely heavily on the author for marketing these days.
It feels weird, and sometimes icky, but ultimately you are writing to sell a message or story … not YOU. Remember that and it won’t be hard.
Practice professional development.
Attend writing conferences, sign up for online courses, join a writing group that critiques each other. Doing this type of thing in any industry is wise and beneficial. It is no different in the writing and publishing world either. Plus, it gives you the easy opportunity to revert back to my first tip of networking.
Don’t plan on making money.
The process of writing and then publishing a book has cost me more money than I may ever make back. I had to put personal money into childcare while I got away to write, conferences I’ve attended, and then of course marketing the book. However if you do make some money … celebrate it, enjoy it, but don’t count on it. Let it be a special surprise each time it happens.
Following this rabbit trail of money and motive reminds us of the fact publishing a book isn’t the point. Sharing a message or story is the point. While making money for your energy and time is great, I recommend you not making it the point.
Keep going. Keep writing.
You’ll hear no. A lot. But it only takes ONE yes to get your magazine article published, or for a literary agent to give you a few minutes of their time, or for publisher to offer you a book deal.
Keep pitching your work. And above all, keep writing. It’s nothing but great practice for when that YES does come through. And then you’ll be ready with content.
Practical tip: If you write fiction, finish your entire manuscript before pitching it to agents/publishers. If you write non-fiction, work on refining your book proposal and only a few sample chapters before pitching it.