Suzy Duffy’s Guest Post
So you want to be an author?
Wanting to write a book is a bit like wanting to be a Mom. It looks much more glamorous than it is, there’s lots of fun ways to make it happen and when you get there it’s not at all what you expected!
It’s easy to start writing a book, but believe me, it’s pretty tough to see through. You need to get your bum on that seat every day. Most writers I know think they’re at their best in the morning. Our minds are sharper and more creative. I do my other chores in the afternoon and then I edit at night when I’m not so productive but still able to work. Writing a book is a gargantuan undertaking. The first write, which is usually about one hundred, twenty thousand words is only the first write! Then you edit it again and again and again. Edit your story about twenty times, at this stage because on every re-read; you’ll find things that you missed the time before. Nothing annoys a reader more than finding an inconsistency in a story. It shatters the whole fictional world.
Now, let’s say you really have the story the way you want it. You’ve gone through it so many times; you almost know it by heart. Give yourself a pat on the back. That’s a big deal, a massive achievement. It also means it’s time to find an agent! Agents are great people, really they are – but they’re not magicians. We have to give them a product they can sell. They want you to be the next big thing just as much as you do. But they can’t force a publisher to bite. First off, check the website of the agents you like. Are they taking on new clients? How do they like to be approached – email or letter? Do as they wish. You don’t want to annoy them already! You have to sell yourself to the agent and (s)he has to believe in you before (s)he can go out and sell you into the market. It’ll probably take several attempts to get an agent you like, but hang in there, you’ll get one.
Next step is to find a publisher. There’s a huge amount of luck in finding the right publishing deal. You need to have the right type of book at the right time. Many writers fall at this hurdle. I’ve had my share of rejection letters. Every professional writer has. In the case of Wellesley Wives and the New England Trilogy, I resorted to making a deal with God! I promised that I’d give 10% of my royalties to a local charity if I got a book deal. Within a few weeks of agreeing to link up with www.fobh.org I signed a book deal with The Writers coffee Shop. Was it God? I think so.
So now, either through grit and determination, luck or God, you have a publisher. The first thing they’ll want you to do, is re-write the book according to their tastes. Remember all the editing you did at home? Well, you’re going to do that again under their in-house editorial team. You can’t be precious about your work. If they want to drop the main character and get the bad guy elevated to high standing, you ask how high. You need your publisher to love you. The manuscript will bounce back and forth between you and them maybe fifteen times. While they have it, it’s time to think about writing book two! It will take a year for your first book to actually be published and by then, both your agent and your publishing house will want to see final drafts of your second offering. This comes at just the same time as your marketing for book one heats up. You need to eat, sleep, and drink your (first) book at this stage. It’s a massive, all consuming project. Give up your social life, sleep, everything. If you don’t do the marketing, your little book will not get out and into the world.
Quite simply there are too many books being written at the moment. It’s a big job to get one up and out – just like a baby. But ask any new Mom would she do it all again, and the answer is almost always YES.
Herewith, I’ve outlined the enormous work load involved but believe me, nothing beats holding your book in your hands or getting an email from a fan. Go for it, write your story. Don’t let anything or anybody say you can’t because you can!
I look forward to reading your book.
Lots of love,