A friend of mine trained very hard to get his medal for the London marathon 2017; He didn’t just get selected with the click of the fingers, or clinch a sub 3hr time by just turning up. He had to pace his work outs over time, fitting them in and around his full time business. It was a challenge but he did it, and I couldn’t be more prouder!
In order to get ahead in writing, you’ve got to do pretty much the same thing, plan, practice, plan then POW! Execute. For some insane reason most of us conclude that we’ve either got ‘it’ or we haven’t, and although I understand some talent is innate and certain, no one is that invincible, lucky, or super-heroic that they can get it right most of the time, must less to all of the time. Doing your homework is essential, especial if your going about this writing lark alone.
Getting to know your writing plan
So you’ve plotted, mapped, and wrote until your fingers have bled.It’s now time to put it all out there but before you do, I suggest you give your book to a trusted friend/family member, there’ll always be notes, go ahead and scribble over your freshly baked manuscript. Next, say goodbye and put it into a drawer for at least two weeks, do not look at it!
Ok, go back, make changes, re-read again, then give it up again to an outsider, lock it away. Go back…Do this until you know in your heart you can do no more, this process is NOT about perfection, and all about tightening up your story to the best of your ability!
Getting to know your agent/publisher
Research your potential agent or publisher, who are they, what do they represent? If you were interviewing them, would they be the best person[s] to represent you? Look at their back catalogue, does your book/series fit in with what they already have? If they are an agent, read their biog they’ll tell you what makes them tick!
Once you’ve chosen a handful of potentials- avoid blanket mailing. Keep a solid log of dates, to whom, and of what you have sent i.e inquiry letter/covering letter/C.V, letter of Submission.
keep a note of it all.
Getting to know your feedback
These agents/pub know what they are talking about they’ve been in the industry for a while, and to be honest they won’t have all the time in the world, so if they’ve taken the time to give you FEEDBACK take the time to read it, as this nugget of information could potentially make your manuscript better.
Getting to know the self publishing route
Your going to need to squat up from the get go, this is not only about raking in a higher cut of the royalties for yourself, due to not having to share the work load that goes along with production.
You’ll have to think about platforming, audience pitching, blogging, vlogging, social networking, work shops, advertising, financial sustainability. It won’t be easy, even if I suspect you have the greatest book in the world, it’ll amount to NOTHING if nobody reads it, but if you feel ready and are an organised bunny, SELF PUB could be for you.
However, even though its a hell of a lot of work, don’t be phased by it IF you believe that this could be the path for you. There’s way too much snobbery surrounding self pub for my liking, we’re human, we evolve, that’s what we do- well unless your last names Trump, then your fffudged….
Getting to know your calender
Look at the major events you want to be apart of i.e Hays festival, writers and artist events, Foyles events, local workshops etc then begin to plot them down on your calendar. There will always be something you’ll miss out on, it’s obviously impossible to be in two places at the same time, but you CAN choose where you want to go in order of importance, if you jot it down in advanced.
Getting to know your writers bible
The Writers and artist year book should be in every new born writers home, it’s got everything you’ll need to know, from planning- after the writing’s completed, to a contact list as long as your arm.
It comes packed with honest interviews from a bunch of well known writers, who are ready to offer candid and helpful advice. But what I really like about it, is that it doesn’t skirt around the bigger issues concerning this HUGE children’s writing world, I would highly recommend it, if you haven’t got one already!