Okay, you have made up your mind, you're going to write a book. Something you've wanted to do for as long as you can remember.
You set out what it will be about and begin typing away at your keypad and your manuscript is on it's way. Your friends and family tell you, just write the book, then work on revisions, (which is good advice) and you do just that.
Now, you have finished, and you find yourself asking "What now?" Well, my answer to that is "Congratulations, you wrote a book! But, it's only the beginning."
There are all kinds of people that will give you different advice, but unless you have a degree in English, or creative writing, you have a lot of work to do to get that manuscript to the point of publishing.
Believe me, this is where I was over 4 years ago. I knew that my writing needed a lot of help. I struggled with the right paths to take because for me I didn't want it to take me 10 years before my first book would be ready.
I worked with my mom through the manuscript since she had been an editor, but it was for non-fiction, a big difference, and even though it did help some, I was still left feeling frustrated. I even tried working with my sister, but she had so much going on in her life then, she didn't have the time.
So I was back at square one.
I couldn't afford to take college classes and didn't know where to turn. I knew that my family and friends were not going to tell me the truth, (my writing sucked, not my story, my writing) and I didn't know of anyone who could help me.
That's when I began to seek out other avenues.
I want to stress that I believe in paying it forward. This is why I want to give those of you that are going through this very same thing some advice and ideas to help you get to where I am now. I am going to give some points and information and I hope you take it and become a published author.
1. First thing you need to do is find a group/meetup that's sole purpose is learning the craft of creative writing. If you go on line in to meetup.com and search in your area, you can usually find a writing group. If you can't find one, then there are groups on line.
2. Bring in your writing, ask questions, and work with the person leading the group. Most of the time they know what they're talking about. Being involved makes all the difference and don't forget to write as much as you can.
3. Get to know other writers either in your group or search out more organized groups, such as, RWA, or any fiction writing groups in your area. You can find them on line.
4. If you can, go to some of their meetings. Check them out. They usually have mini-conferences you can go to also for a minimum amount of money. My group, HODRW has them and if you can't afford to be a member, the mini-conferences are 40.00.
5. Once you have gotten to know some writers, find a critique partner and get together with him/her on a regular basis. Working on your craft will help you to become a better writer.
6. Study the creative writing skills. There are tons of blogs from writers out there that go over the skills you need.
7. Work on those revisions faithfully. Even if you are so sick of chapter one because you've rewritten most of it 10 times!
8. Listen to advice from professional writers and get to know some editors. Most people are willing to help.
9. Save money up and hire a writing coach. They are sooo worth the money! Working privately with a coach will get you much further ahead.
10. Be patient with yourself. A good story is one thing, a well written novel is another. It takes time to turn your first one into a novel. 4-6 years is about average.
Once you feel like your book is ready, make sure you hire a professional editor. You can shop around and find one's that are at a reasonable cost. And before you do that find some beta-readers, people you don't really know, or there are sites that will review your work for a nominal fee. You want to know the truth about your book before you send it out to the public.
If you find it's not ready, then work on it some more. Don't ignore the red marks because you don't want to go through the book again.
And finally, I am more than willing to help anyone out there if they need me. If I don't have answers then I know someone who will. Don't be afraid to ask. And, I'm sure there are plenty of people out there, like me, who would be willing to help you become the successful author you know is hiding in there and need to show themselves to the world.
It's all worth it if it's your dream!
Until next week, have a great weekend!