Since receiving 'the call' my life has been a whirlwind of activity. In an effort to help you all who are not yet published, but close, you know who you are - you're finaling in writing contests, agents/editors are requesting partials or fulls - I'd like to share what I've learned so far.
In the process of pursuing publication, writers spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting for critique partners to get back to you, waiting for contest results, and waiting for a response to your numerous queries and submissions. How you spend that time can ease your transition to contracted/published author.
Within a few days of receiving my offer from Harlequin Mills and Boon, I needed to complete more revisions and submit a brief bio, a dedication page, and a Dear Reader letter for my book. Then there was the contract to review (thank goodness for my agent, Michelle Grajkowski), the promo picture to coordinate, and the website to design. Oh, and did I mention I have a deadline for my second book? 2/1/2011. That's in three months. A little stressful considering I worked at writing my first book for over a year and then revised for five months to get it where it needed to be for publication.
Anyway, my suggestions to you all who are close to publication:
1) When you visit author websites you enjoy, jot down what you like and make a note of the web designer (usually listed at the bottom). This will help you when it's time to create your own website.
2) If you have some techno-savvy, which I do not, consider exploring do-it-yourself website options.
3) When you visit author/writer blogs and websites, note their promo pictures. Are they outdoors or indoors? Formal or informal? Note outfits, expressions. Figure out how you want to look in your promo picture. Maybe have a friend or family member play around with your digital camera. Although, in my very limited experience, while a professional portrait is not required by my publisher, it is highly recommended.
4) When you read books by your favorite authors, pay attention to the dedication pages, the bios and Dear Reader letters. Becoming familiar with these, maybe playing around with writing your own, will make it much easier when it's time to do it for real.
5) Join writers loops where you have access to published authors. Their suggestions and guidance are invaluable. For instance, I am a member of Heartbeat RWA, a special interest chapter of RWA for medical romance writers and writers who use medical scenes in their writing, as well as others. Once I posted news of my sale I was contacted by several of the published author members. I was invited to join a Medical Romance authors loop and I was invited to blog on the Medical Romance Authors Group Blog at eharlequin.com. All because I'd put in the effort to find special interest groups, specific to my writing, ahead of time.
6) KEEP WRITING! Toss around ideas for new stories. Create character profiles for book 2 or 3 or 4. So when an agent/editor asks, "What else have you got?" you have something to show them
So what do you think of my suggestions? Have you done some of these things? All of them? And if you have experience with do-it-yourself web design, would you please share it here? (While I've contracted with Novel Website Design to build my site, some of my visitors may be looking for info on how to do it themselves.)
- It is said that good things come to those who wait. I believe that good things come to those who work. - Wilt Chamberlain
- A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit. - Richard Bach
- You don't find time to write. You make time. It's my job. - Nora Roberts
- Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most. - Buddha
- Luck is when an opportunity comes along and you're prepared for it. - Denzel Washington
- I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying. - Michael Jordan