Just have to share some great news with you! Not long ago I signed on with super agent Jenny Bent, founder of The Bent Agency. This week, Jenny made a two-book deal for me with St. Martin’s Press, a Macmillan company.
As you might imagine, I couldn’t be happier; Jenny is such a pro, a truly lovely person and every inch the professional. Read Jenny’s announcement here.
Before this past week, whenever I read one of these announcements, I would wonder, How did she/he do it?
- Dedication – Some rare people might find success overnight (.00000001% perhaps), but the fact is, most of us don’t. Prepare to learn, write, listen to readers and reviewers, revise…and then do it all over again. Many, many times. My first novel received more than forty edits; the last four major, full edits were in a brief six-week time frame (during which I worked through many nights). Trust me, you’ll look back and shudder at your first attempts. But we must all start somewhere. And I’m not finished yet…
- Build Your Networks – Without twitter, facebook, goodreads, and other social media activity, I don’t think my work would have stood a chance. Readers have to discover you. Don’t be shy, be the first to approach someone. Want more followers? Reach out, say hello. It’s like finding friends in first grade.
- Get Reviewed – I know, it’s painful. We all want people to say our first baby is beautiful, but be realistic. Listen to what people say. A lot of people. If you’re open to comments, you’ll hear threads of truth. Join writer communities, such as the World Literary Cafe or The Independent Author’s Network. Make friends; help others and they’ll return the favor. Reviews and sales, which comes first? It’s like the proverbial chicken and the egg.
- Take a Chance – I took a deep breath and choose to self-publish first. Was it perfect the first time out of the chute? Heck, no! Even after countless edits and beta readers, I still misspelled “lightning” on page 9. (I blame my beauty industry background for using “lightening” instead.) Sigh. We’re always learning, but we have to put it out there at some point. And I sure learned why the book hadn’t sold before.
- Be Professional – With everything! Spend the money to produce quality work. Hire excellent cover artists, proofreaders, editors. Keep listening and learning. And take “no” graciously. Behind every “no” lurks a “yes” somewhere else.
These are the first steps I’ve taken on this path. There’s a long path still ahead. I’ll keep learning and sharing. But I’m proud of my Indie roots. I’m an entrepreneur. I believe in ideas. I believe in the magic of making things happen.
Bottom line: The publishing world is changing, and writers have more options than ever before.
Now, excuse me while I pour that glass of bubbly and celebrate! Still crossing my fingers for the holy grail of a movie deal (Keira Knightley, Scarlett Johansson, Sofia Coppola–are you listening?) And now, back to writing…
Love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment!