You’re a writer, too? Hooray! I always love meeting other writers.
I find writing to be a challenging, exciting, and worthwhile endeavor. The pursuit of getting that same writing PUBLISHED, however, can be a hair-tugging, exasperating, and often painful journey.
An early “Catch-22” that many writers discover is that most publishing houses prefer to receive proposals from agented writers. And many agents won’t take on writers until they have a proven track record.
Since I’m not an acquisitions editor, I have no power to push open those wonderful publishing doors for my writer friends. However, I can share the steps and resources that have helped me:
1.) Keep writing. While my first manuscript was circulating at various houses, I wrote two more novels in that genre, then an historical novel, and then a mom-lit. It was my fifth completed manuscript that was the first to sell. That doesn’t mean I’ve given up on my original “baby” – but editors often look for writers with more than one book in them.
2.) Keep learning. Join local writers’ groups, critique groups, guilds, on-line loops, etc. You’ll hear which editors are looking for your genre. You’ll find people to swap honest feedback, share chocolate as the rejections letters arrive, and remind you why you’re putting yourself through this.
3.) Keep reading. Read books in your genre. Read books you admire. Read books that stretch you. Read books on your craft. A small list of books that have helped me is listed below.
- Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King
- Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas
- Stein on Writing by Sol Stein
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
- The Sell Your Novel Tool Kit by Elizabeth Lyon
- Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain
- Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell
- Getting into Character by Brandilyn Collins
- And of course, writer’s markets and current magazines.
- Another super resource to help you gauge your progress on the journey is at Randy Ingermanson’s web site and his analysis of whether you are a “Freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior” on the road to publication.
4.) Keep making friends. Writer’s conferences are a huge investment, but a precious key to getting that publishing door unlocked. Editors who won’t take unsolicited manuscripts will consider your proposal if they’ve met you at a conference. I met many of my critique partners at writers’ conferences. I met authors who gave me insights. I met my agent at a writers’ conference. Conferences are a way to get around the “Catch-22.” And yes, I DO recommend trying to find an agent, because getting in the door as a new writer is increasingly difficult.
Here’s a list of some of the larger conferences that you might want to look into. Each has a different emphasis, but you’re sure to find one that will be helpful.
- American Christian Fiction Writers Conference
- Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference
- Glorietta Christian Writers Conference
- Colorado/Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conferences
- Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference
- Write to Publish
- Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing
- American Christian Writers Conferences- Smaller conferences in a variety of locales. A less expensive way to test the waters.
More Resources for Writers:
American Christian Fiction Writers – a warm and generous group. Membership includes monthly courses, annual contests, discussion loops on all genres, and many other benefits. http://www.americanchristianfictionwriters.com
Right Writing – W. Terry Whalin is an experienced author and editor. This site includes valuable information, and you can sign up for his free newsletter. http://www.right-writing.com
Advanced Fiction Writing – a free monthly newsletter created by Randy Ingermanson with info on craft, marketing, author interviews, and other great info. http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com
Edenstar Books and Games – a website dedicated to sci-fi and fantasy with a Christian worldview. Marvelous collection of reviews, interviews, and information. http://www.edenstarbooks.com
Blue Mountain Editorial Services – Barbara Warren has worked with many CBA authors. http://barbarawarrenbluemountainedit.com
Kathy Ide – another great editor who works with CBA authors, and teaches classes on PUG (punctuation, usage, grammar). http://www.kathyide.com
PulsePoint Design – a terrific website design company, with a special passion for assisting Christian writers http://www.pulsepointdesign.com
Steve Laube – Literary agent, with unique experience and insights into the CBA market. http://www.stevelaube.com
The Story Sensei – Camy Tang offers an editorial service focusing on big-picture structure critiques and book-doctoring. She has great instincts for pacing, conflict, and plot development. http://www.camytang.com/sensei.html