I learned a few things this year :)
Well, this year I published my debut novel, IN THE REARVIEW, through Astraea Press. And I learned a few things about this experience. My view is only one, and there are many on that golden road to publishing. On my particular journey, I submitted to Astraea, a small e-first press, on my own, not through an agent. Through that experience I learned a lot of things.
What I learned in 2014:
- I learned that giving up is NOT an option. If I would have given up after agent rejections REARVIEW may never have been published. If I would have given up after writing and editing REARVIEW for way too many years it would never have become a full length novel, and it never would have been published. Giving up is never an option. If writing isn’t an option, if it’s a must, then you are a writer, and you’re not allowed to give up – I learned that this year!
- I learned that I still prefer traditional publishing. When rejections start rolling in it’s not uncommon to start wondering if self-publishing is the way to go with this manuscript. It’s always an option, that never goes away, but for REARVIEW the right choice was going through a publisher.
- I learned that agenting is a tough game, and querying still sucks. But the caveat to this one is that it’s a lot easier with amazing support from friends, family, beta readers, and critique partners. I submitted to Astraea myself, without an agent, but I still want an agent. To get an agent I must query, and querying is a tough game. I always knew it was, and that’s never going to change. That’s why I also learned…
- That amazing critique partners are worth double their weight in gold. Hell, triple. Never underestimate the value of a great critique partner. They will make your work better, they will support you, and they will make sure you never ever quit writing.
- I learned that a social platform is a lot of work, but it’s a really good idea for authors. I had no idea how much time and effort it took to blog regularly, promote myself as well as the book, and to sift through the vast emptiness of the internet for promotional opportunities. For all of this, again, you really need a good network of supportive friends. It’s ideal if you can all share opportunities, experiences, and promotional power.
- Promotion is a job, and you should always have it in the back of your mind. Network. Post regularly (though not annoyingly so). Look for new opportunities. And never go radio-silent.
- Being kind goes a long way. This may sound stupid, but as many of us know (or will soon learn) the writing and publishing communities are really small worlds. The more helpful and kind you are, the more of that generosity you get in return. It never pays to be rude, and if you are you’ll likely regret it.
- Finally, I learned that it’s important to be thankful. When like sucks after that newest rejection, and you got back harsh edits from your lovely-but-way-too-smart-for-her-own-good-CP, and all you want to do is have a good cry in a strong drink, that’s the time to be thankful. You are still able to write. Through all of this the words are always there for you. You are allowed to take time and be upset, you are allowed to sulk, but it’s always important to be thankful for what you have. Being thankful makes whatever you have, even if it’s little things, all that more important and wonderful.
- Finish drafting and editing a WIP in 2015 and begin querying it before the year is out.
- Never stop writing. I would like to continue working on the drafts I have unfinished, write a few short stories to submit for journal publication, and continue editing all of my WIPs that sit waiting for a red pen.
- Make more writer friends. One can never have too many writer friends, beta readers, or critique partners. I would love to continue expanding my network of the amazing folks in the writing community. I am lucky to be a part of a few communities and groups through the convenience of the internet, and I hope to continue expanding my circle of writing friends in 2015.
- Read 35 books in 2015
- Write and submit a few short stories
What to repeat:
- Obviously I want to publish again. That’s a no brainer.
- Continue editing with the best partner-in-crime a girl can have over at Wild Things Editing! That’s another no brainer.
- Stay thankful. I must remember, when I have a down week after rejections or less than desirable royalties, that I still have my friends, my family, and I will always have my writing. If the traditional world never pans out for me again I still have options. And I am thankful that I have people in my life who will never let me give up.
So what have you learned this year? What are your resolutions? What’s worth repeating in 2015?