Do you want to be a writer? Join me as I write. I share the good, bad, and ugly of putting the story together, getting it published, and learning how to promote it. I share my thoughts and feelings, my good ideas and bad ones, what works and what doesn't.
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Note: This post first appeared on Hannah Conway's blog as part of the anniversary celebration for Breathing on Her Own.
Publishing that first novel is akin to raising your
firstborn child. You do your best, make a few mistakes, and learn along the
way. Now that Breathing on Her Own is a three-year-old, I’m prepared to offer
other fledgling parents of books my sage advice. I'm including links to three short handbooks you will find helpful in setting your course to birth your own "Bookchild."
Lesson 1 Birthing a “Bookchild”
First time parents want to do this whole baby thing right.
Moms exercise and eat healthy. Dads dutifully paint the nursery. The couple
reads everything they can about raising children and they spend long hours
discussing the child’s name.
In the same way, writers seeking to be authors need to
exercise their writing muscle in order to draft that sweet manuscript. They must
purposefully study the craft of writing and nuances of publishing. Writers need
to identify their strengths and weaknesses and create a plan to improve as a
writer. Choosing the title will emerge as the story unfolds. When I embarked on
crafting that first novel, I created a business plan for my writing. I budgeted
my time to study writing and publishing and engaged daily in writing exercises.
You wrote it. You love it. I get it. However, nobody births
a perfect “bookchild.” Even the best of the best authors must revise and edit
their work on a constant basis. I worked hard on that first novel to write a
compelling story. I was sure I nailed it. When my publisher introduced me to my
editor I waited for her to rave about the book. Fortunately, she knew her job
was to polish my work not to caress my ego. Working with a professional editor
may be painful or even costly. Think of it as putting braces on your child to
correct the overbite. Healthy straight teeth improve speech quality, digestion,
and physical appearance. A professional edit will allow your voice to be heard.
It will give your manuscript the look and feel of a successful book.
Lesson 3 Not Everyone
on the Playground Will Choose Your “Bookchild”
Once I decided to become an author I attended a writing
conference. I hadn’t finished the first draft of Breathing on Her Own but was very close to the end. I pitched the
book to agents and acquisition editors for publishing houses. I practiced what
is called an elevator pitch. The first two agents interrupted me about halfway
through my pitch. The next one and a couple of the publishers offered a kind
word but a firm no. My last appointment was with Eddie Jones of Lighthouse
Publishing of the Carolinas. He listened. He read the chapters I sent him. Two
months later I had a contract. Not everyone will choose your book, but it only
Are you an aspiring author? I would love to hear from you.
How are you spending these months of preparation to birth your own “bookchild?”