Monday, June 27, 2016

How to Get a Book Published in 1,000 Easy Steps

Once you're published, you get the occasional question from an aspiring author. The question almost always boils down to this:



Maybe they've written a book. Maybe they haven't. But questions like "How do I get a book published?" can be complicated to answer. I often feel that they're looking for the magic fairy dust.



I started writing in 1995. I landed my agent in 2009. I got my first book deal in 2012. So...yeah...that magic fairy dust was this:



So, I've decided to write this blog post, which I'll save as a link to send to anyone who asks. This is the most important thing I'd tell anyone who wants to be a novelist:



So if you pass that test, I'd point you to the next piece of advice almost every working author today lives by:



Long before I typed "Chapter One" on my first book, I was reading everything I could. Including Stephen King's entire collection. Once I started writing, I kept finding time to read, including listening to audiobooks and riding the bus to work so I could get my reading time in.



There are supplies you can gather for your journey, including a support group. I highly recommend it. For the first half of my journey, I relied heavily on the support of Romance Writers of America (RWA), a 100-percent awesome organization.



If you're a children's writer, this is your group. Another 100-percent awesome organization.



If you're looking for a group that meets in person regularly, Meetup can help you find a critique/support group:



You should also set up a Twitter account and start following agents who represent the type of books you plan to write. They'll often post calls for specific types of manuscripts. You may also want to sign up for this:



If you want to self-publish, I'm not the person to ask. That's a whole other complicated blog that I'm sure one of my mega-talented blogger friends has posted about before.

(If you have, please post the link in the comments!)

Hope this guide has been at least a little helpful. Also, once you're published, be careful reading an unpublished author's work. It can put you into some serious legal hot water if that author decides you "stole" his or her idea later.



What advice do you have for new authors?

My giveaway ends Wednesday. Enter now!




Goodreads Book Giveaway

Piper Morgan Joins the Circus by Stephanie Faris

Piper Morgan Joins the Circus

by Stephanie Faris

Giveaway ends June 29, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

52 comments:

  1. I guess I'm lucky my critique partners are all published. Good thing none of them stuck by that rule either.
    Support group - see the IWSG.

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    1. It's different in a critique group setting because everyone's exchanging work. I'm talking about the 4,000 times an author will be asked by a total stranger (or someone who never spoke to us before, even if we went to the same school): "I wrote a book about my beard. Will you read it and tell me what you think?"

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    2. Which definition of beard are we talking about here? Because either way, I think I would read that book.

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    3. LOL. Well, I'll send them your way, C.D.!

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  2. Congratulations on the payoff for your hard work!

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  3. Practical advice here, made all the better with cute images scattered along the way. I've never wanted to write a book, figuring that keeping a blog was about all the writing I could handle. But if I ever change my mind, I'll keep your wisdom at hand.

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    1. I think the most important thing is "hard work."

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  4. Only one thousand? I always tell people two ways to learn how to write: 1. read 2. write

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. True! Usually they skip past that and ask how they get published. So it would be, "Well, FIRST you need to write the book, which means you need to read a lot and write a lot."

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    2. I've had people ask me how to get a book published when they've never written anything.

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  5. I just learned that a creative writing group has started in my town. I saw their flyer at the coffee shop in town, where my meetup book club meets each month. I sent the writing group an email. They'd already met once in may, but I did not see the flyer until after that. They will be meeting tomorrow afternoon.

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    1. I miss in-person groups. The Internet has wiped a lot of that out, sadly. There's so much about that in-person experience that can't be duplicated on social media or in email.

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  6. Haha! Yes! I imagine you get those questions often. Everyone thinks that they could be a writer. People keep telling me I should write a book, like it is just so easy. I don't think they get it.
    Great post!

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    1. They always told me that, too, even after I'd written about ten of them!

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  7. Great advice, Stephanie. I can't think of anything to add other than to trust your own writing voice while writing. Critique groups can be helpful, for sure, but I've gotten in trouble in the past listening to what others thought I should write rather than what I needed to write.

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    1. That is true...and yeah, you have to watch out because there will always be someone out there with an opinion about what you should/shouldn't write.

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  8. Such a good post, Stephanie. This post is so true. Even with self-publishing, authors are always looking for that magic fairy dust to make things happen faster and bring in lots of money too. Hard work is definitely vital when it comes to writing.

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    1. Yes, with self-publishing, you have to hustle to get those sales. People don't realize that. You have to hustle with traditional publishing, too, but at least with trad, the publisher gets it into bookstores, which is a good start.

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  9. Stephanie, great advice. As a reader, I'm so very thankful for all the hard work authors like you do.

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  10. I get asked "How do you get published" ALL THE TIME. And most of the time, I offer the same advice you give in this post.

    People stare at me with big sad eyes as if they are disappointed in me for keeping the secret to myself -- the REAL way to get published in one easy step.

    You know, like "Just hit the F13 button on your computer. Your book will be uploaded to Amazon, and your agent will contact you via email with your contract. Checks will start arriving in the mail soon after."

    Sigh.

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    1. I love that last paragraph. I think we should start telling people that. When they ask where the F13 button is, we can say that if you don't have one on your computer, you can't be a writer!

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  11. Well said, Steph!
    Are you ready for vacay?

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    1. I just let out the stress-breath I've been holding! I swear, I think I just need to make "working at the beach for a week" my vacation because the week or two leading up to vacation is SO stressful as I try to finish everything in time!

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  12. Wow, I had no idea you'd written that long before being published. Makes me not feel so bad about my going on eight years. And hopeful that it will happen someday!

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    1. Well, it was off and on, of course. There were probably five or six years where I wasn't trying to get published--but I was blogging. Always writing! And now I make a full-time living writing (although most of it is freelance, not fiction).

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  13. I think you covered it well. Also, you have to grow a thick skin and accept rejection. You have to persevere. And often the marketing aspects are harder than the original writing. Edit Edit Edit. Good post!

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    1. So true, all of it! I don't even get into marketing with people who ask because YIKES. They have to save all that anxiety for after they get that book deal!

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  14. Good points and suggestions. I have booked-marked at least one of the links.
    Wait! No fairy dust? That's not fair! :(
    LOL :) :)

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    1. I know, right? I want fairy dust for a lot of things in my life.

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  15. You are such an inspiration, Stephanie! Good points, all.
    Having been a member for quite some time, SCBWI is an outstanding organization! Being involved in local writing groups is immensely helpful as well. Something tells me you've also read Stephen King 'On Writing' :-)

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    1. Thank you, Diedre. When I first started writing, On Writing wasn't even out yet. We were all reading Bird by Bird and The Artist's Way. I loved King's book, but the grammar section seemed WAYYY too long!

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  16. This is great advice! I'd love to write a book. Well, another book. I did write something in graduate school that was published but that's another story!

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  17. I spent 25 years writing reports for work. I'm just not interested in working that hard and I know it's hard work. I applaud all those that have the passion to write. I am in awe of those authors that can whisk me away to another place. That's the magic of writing.

    Have a fabulous day Stephanie. ☺

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  18. Great advice from the King! Long live the King! I have self-published a collection of short stories, but am no expert yet.

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  19. So true about why you want to write. Add to that that you might write with a passion but to find someone who wants to read your work is another kettle of fish. The market is glutted.

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  20. Stephanie -- Great post! I'm a fan of On Writing, too. Regarding self-publishing, I usually point people to Jane Friedman's article: https://janefriedman.com/self-publish-your-book.

    Yvonne V

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  21. You are soooo right! To be a writer, you have to write. Saying, "I hope to write a book one day" doesn't cut it.

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  22. Great advice. Writers need to read and write as much as possible! That's just fact. :)

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  23. Writers read to write better. All great advice.

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  24. It's true there are no shortcuts - unless you know someone.

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  25. Great advice! You include key pieces of information that will help anyone who wants to be a writer. Thanks for sharing. I plan to pass this along to people who ask me about writing too. :)

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  26. Thanks Stephanie. Yes, it all comes down to the 2 Rs--Read, Write. I love both. And accept it will be a long haul. Congrats for sticking with the program!

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  27. I'm one of those folks who started writing because I had something to say and I didn't know how to say it, so I'd just write to myself...or play online text based roleplaying games. I soon discovered that people actually liked what I had to say because they responded to what I wrote.

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  28. We had a guy show up to our writers group once who just wanted to talk about how to get published. He had found a vanity publisher... Deep sigh. At least the rest of the group is working on their novels. We'll all get there eventually.

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  29. Great post that I am totally going to point people too. So many people think I will have some kind of trick to help them and are almost annoyed when I explain that really it's all about a whole lot of work!

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  30. Read a lot. Write a lot. Hard work will pay off. :)

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  31. I've got nothing to add. You covered what was important. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  32. I just kept nodding in agreement throughout this entire post!

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  33. Great advice. Yes, to everything you said. I would say to never give up.

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  34. Wow! I never thought about reading an unpublished author's work and being accused of stealing later. People can be so awful. Thank you for being one of the good ones!

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