Tuesday, October 22, 2013

You Finished Your First Novel! Now What?

If you just finished your first novel, congratulations! You have done something many people in this world cannot claim. It's a great accomplishment and you should revel in it!

Once your celebrating is done, then the real work begins. What? You thought you were done because you wrote "The End?"  No, sorry, if you want to get that baby published, you've got quite a ways to go.

Today, I wanted to share some of the websites I've found to be a tremendous help in navigating the world of publishing. In sharing these sites with you, I hope it well help your journey through the publishing world be a smooth ride rather than a bumpy disaster.

When I finished my first novel a while ago I began my crash course in Publishing 101. It started with learning how to write a query letter. When I struggled, I looked for examples to follow so I had some sense of what worked. One of the best places to find successful queries is at Writer's Digest. Check out this link for help: http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/successful-queries

Along with a query, many agents now request a synopsis as part of the submission process. Author, Susan Dennard has a great post on how to write an all-compassing, streamlined synopsis here: http://www.publishingcrawl.com/2012/04/17/how-to-write-a-1-page-synopsis/

What if you're approached by a small press and don't know anything about them? Preditors and Editors is a great site to help you do research.

How about word count? Many agents and publishers have a certain set of parameters regarding how long your book should be. Literary Agent Jennifer Laughran has a great post about word count here: http://literaticat.blogspot.com/2011/05/wordcount-dracula.html.

Perhaps you're gearing up to write your next book and it's going to be Middle Grade or Young Adult and you need some advice on writing in these categories. Former agent Mary Kole has an amazing website that details everything from writing action to creating authentic voice. Find her helpful advice here: http://kidlit.com/

One last thing...

Once you've written your first novel, it is critical that you have beta readers and critique partners to help you. They can ferret out where your plot is failing or your pacing is off. Check out CPSeek or writing sites like AgentQuery Connect or AbsoluteWrite to find like-minded writers who can help you polish up that masterpiece you should be so proud of!

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