Aspiring authors often ask: “How do I get published?” or “How did you get published?”
The best way for me to answer that is here. Over time I will use this page to share useful information and links about writing craft and the publishing biz (from my experience).
In 2016 I joined forces with 23 other authors who had ‘made it’ to put together an anthology. Titled Writing the Dream, the book shares the stories of twenty-four Australian writers, from emerging to established — some are traditionally published, while others have taken the self-publishing route. Some have faced rejection after rejection, while others have had a dream path.
About the book (which is available via Serenity Press in print and digital formats)
Writing the Dream shares the stories of twenty-four Australian writers, from emerging to established authors. Some are traditionally published, while others have taken the self-publishing route. Some have faced rejection after rejection, while others have had a dream path. But, while their writing journeys are different, all of them strive to create, entertain, inspire and inform. And all of them have unique and creative voices that deserve to be heard.
With contributors including Anna Jacobs, Juliet Marillier, Natasha Lester, Jenn J McLeod, and a host other talented writers, the stories in Writing the Dream are set to strike an inspirational chord in every hopeful writer’s heart.
Bits and Blogs
Below you will find a few blog links from my archives, written during my own journey. The contents may encourage and entertain the writer in you. 🙂
Other links** may be external sources – sage advice and something to ponder during a period of procrasti-learning. (Procrasti-learning = what I am doing when fluffing around on the internet rather than writing!)
One website I highly recommend is Writing Novels in Australia website. During 2013 I took part in an online emerging author education series, which entailed posting a blog every month on my publishing journey. I was joined by some other fabulous authors, like Helene Young and Greg Barron, who also posted writing hints and tips and shared their vast experience. Check out the entire website and find the 2013 contributors here.
The first thing I tell authors is this…
Writing for publication is not the same as writing for pleasure. Being a published author turns a hobby on its head, frustrates the family, and tests your patience. Then…
- It’s never too early to start thinking like a published author.
- Develop a head for business and learn to plan – sometimes the marketing, accounting and time managemenet parts of this gig are more small business operator than writer.
- Give those closest to you the opportunity to share your journey. Don’t assume they already know. Don’t assume they don’t want to understand. With involvement comes support – and you will need that in bucket-loads.
- Don’t do it for the money. Harry Potter and Fifty Shades are not the norm. Not many Australian writers make a living from writing.
1. Know your genre: The publishing business runs on categorising books (in the same way a library does). Which shelf will your book sit on? Pick one!
2. Read books in the genre you write: Find one that really works for you. If it hooked you ask yourself “why?”; what did the author do you liked? I call this process “deconstructing a novel”. Fran Cusworth’s Hopetoun Wives was my ‘light bulb moment’: three opening chapters, three characters – each one packing a suitcase and heading to a small town, each with their own reasons for wanting to go (or not). This structure influenced the opening chapters of my Simmering Season.
3. Just write: Don’t aim for perfection with your first, or even second draft. Get your story down. I found the faster I wrote (less editing) the more my ‘voice’ came through. Your voice as an author is important. Spend too much time every day reworking or editing the previous day’s writing and you run the risk of thinking this like: you can’t write, you’ll never finsish, or this is all too hard.) So just write. (See my blog post below ‘When Writers Race’.)
4. Get online, network and build a profile: Yes, some authors will break through without a brand or without ever stepping foot into Facebook, etc. By the time I was submitting my manuscripts, I had created an author platform and I had a good Facebook following. Engaging with readers is a big part of the business these days. Readers and publisher both expect their authors to help build their profile. You can choose to not do anything, but imagine this… A publisher has two manuscripts under consideration. Both excellent. Both what they are looking for. One author has no online presence, while the other author has a website and is active on social media. Which one will the publisher choose? I had no idea about online anything when I started out. I made myself a Linkedin, blogging, tweeting Facebooking fifty year old by having a go. It helped.
Keep writing and just as your plot should always be moving forward, so too should you, a s a writer. Baby steps are fine. Just keep moving: seek out opportunites by joining a writers group (local or online), attend writers/readers conferences and festivals, get on Facebook–look, listen, learn and don;t be afraid to join in the conversations. You’ll be surprised how generous and supportive people in this business really are.
From my blog archives, right here on this website…
How to write a book submission (with a sample of my actual House for all Seasons query letter to my (now) agent!)
Don’t Botox Your Book: A word on
over-editing, on knowing when to stop, on not over doing it, on… Well, you get my drift. Sometimes less is more.
Big Hook. Big Fish: How to write (or how to catch a really big fish!)
Shhh!: Silent research.
Slush Piles: A Christmas Story!
It’s a fetish of mine: and a good tip for you.
Bye, Bye, Baby. Baby goodbye: Learning to let go (or how to not be a control freak!)
Will I Be A Human Flycatcher?: Attend a writers’ conference at least once.
When Writers Race: A Novel in 30 Days.
** 23 Tips for new and emerging writers. (This is gold!)
I’ll ask my author friends to add their top tip or favourite writing craft book in the comments.