Open the Publishing Door in 2024
Everyone makes resolutions ahead of the coming year. You’ve got your standard weight loss and exercise resolutions that usually fail a week into the new year if you don't integrate them into your daily routine. There's the ever-popular personal pledges to improve some part of our emotional selves; take things in stride, don’t react to triggers, seek out kumbaya moments, and practice kindness to all along with dishing out random acts of kindness. Put yourself out there, volunteer at an animal shelter or soup kitchen. And don’t forget the trendy vow to take up a new hobby; learn to cook, start a new collection, create some art. These are all worthwhile decrees and by all means, partake, but I’m proposing writing resolutions again for 2024
If you’re new to the writing scene, make it your business to promise your inner writing star that you will make time to write. Create a space unique to you that motivates and inspires you to write. Create a vision board or box to help you visualize your dream of becoming a published author.
Seek out writing websites, forums, and groups to join. It's a great way to meet new people who share your passion. You'd be surprised how many tips you can pick up from others. Put yourself out there on social media by creating your own Facebook, Instagram, and/or website. Agents, editors, and publishers want to see that you are serious about your craft. Some look for a social media following of several thousand or more followers. That may seem daunting, but I urge you to do it.
Hone your craft by learning about how to structure a story properly. Practice proper punctuation. Alert yourself to alliteration and the like. Scour the Internet for writing tips and grammar rules. Some writers love outlines, others not so much. If an outline appeals to you, use it to help structure your story. Outline every chapter if that helps. Don't like written or detailed outlines? I feel you. Keep a loose one in your head.
Don't forget to read. Read books from authors in the genre you are attempting to write in. Stick to the word count for that genre. Read books in other genres as well. While reading, take note of how the author handles character descriptions and flaws, scenes, plot, dialogue, chapter surprises etc.
If you’re at the my-book-is-done stage. Make sure your story shines. Nail your opening line to grab attention. Make sure all the sentences and scenes that follow are just as compelling. Be certain your first pages are error-free and amazing. Ensure that each chapter makes the reader want to read more.
Check to see whether you are in the correct genre lane. Go to a book store and peruse the shelves. Pay attention to how the books are organized. Figure out where you book might fit in. Confirm that your word count meets the requirement for your genre.
Fix stylistic and grammar mistakes. Find a good proofreader/editor. Seek out beta readers for constructive feedback. Ready your query letter and synopsis. Research agents and publishers for your genre.
If you fall into the waiting-for-responses-so-you-can-cue-the-confetti category, continue to improve your manuscript by making it more concise. Get rid of busy words and redundancy. Check that you do not have too much exposition. Scrap anything that doesn't move the story forward. Create a save-for-later file and throw all the excess in there. You may be able too use it down the line for the second in the series or a different story. Lastly, keep watering your writing seeds. Keep writing while you wait, either start the next in the series, or write something completely new.
A few final resolutions for 2024, please make it your business to share your writing knowledge with other writers. Share what you've learned about the publishing industry or the indie author/self-publishing route. Help others avoid the pitfalls you endured and marshal them onto the right writing path. Your wisdom could truly benefit an up-and-coming writer or potential author. Lastly, if your manuscript is rejected, take it in stride, make some changes if you agree with the feedback, and move on to the next agent.