Wednesday, October 23, 2013

How To Publish a Book: Beginning Your Writing Journey

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photo credit: VinothChandar via photopin cc
On my website, I've created a FAQ page for the questions that I am asked frequently. One of them is the question, "how do I publish my book?" Many aspiring authors begin their writing journey without knowing what the path will consist of. But doing this is like driving to a destination without having a clue on how to get there. You need a map. You need to be prepared for what might happen along your journey. If you're hoping to have a book published, it is vital that you are informed about not only the industry, but the craft as well.

Unfortunately, there is way more that goes into publishing than simply writing a good book. It’s a journey. And although everyone’s journey is unique, each path must ultimately arrive at the same destination.

You first have to know where you’re headed before you set out on this journey. It is essential to know the publication course before you take it. Otherwise, you might just end up lost, confused, and tempted to give up.

Many aspiring authors do not do this. These are several people who write a book without studying the craft, people who learn about the publishing process as they tread through rather than getting familiar with the path beforehand. These are the amateurs, and agents/editors can spot one in almost an instant.  

There are three things every aspiring author must do before beginning their journey, and they are: Read. Research. And most importantly, write.

Being an author involves more than just having talent. An author must also have knowledge about the craft, industry, as well as the publishing process. They must have a passion big enough to do whatever it takes to accomplish their dream; a determination that will take them all the way to the finish line; and the perseverance to keep going, even when they feel their motivation level becomes low, and they feel as if the journey is never-ending.

Passion, prayer, patience, and perseverance always pays off. Remember this when there are unexpected curves and road bumps along your journey.

If you prefer not to come across as an amateur to professionals, it is highly recommended that you:
  1. Establish a web presence by creating a blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  2. Establish a brand for yourself.
  3. Join a critique group.
  4. Attend a writing conference.
  5. Write for online publications, freelance, or guest post for other blogs.
Whatever you can do that will get your feet wet in the industry will pay off tremendously, as well as impress an agent/editor.

You must also:
  1. Read books in your genre.
  2. Research by studying books on the writing craft, as well as following industry blogs. 
  3. Write as much as you can, and then a little more.
Once you’ve prepared for your journey, then you can begin. Research agents who represent your genre and follow their submission guidelines to query them. Or perhaps meet them at a writing conference. Do your research on the agency before you query them to make sure they're not a scam. Here is a list of what writers should be aware of when researching literary agencies and publishers, and here's a list of recommended agents in the Christian market (some of them represent both CBA and ABA books). And click here for a list of writer resources I’ve collected for the aspiring and experienced writer.

As you wait to hear back from an agent, begin writing your next book. Continue learning more about the craft and attend conferences (here's a list of recommended Christian writer's conferences). If you receive a rejection, it doesn’t mean that your journey is over; it just means that wasn’t the right destination for you. Think of a rejection as a redirection. Instead of turning around and giving up, keep going forward until you find the right destination. 

Remember, everyone’s journey is different. Yours might be as long as ten years, or maybe as short as five. However, when there are unexpected curves and road bumps along your journey, remember that passion, prayer, patience, and perseverance always pays off. 

At times, the journey might seem endless and perhaps impossible. But it is only the one who gives up who is guaranteed not to arrive at their destination.

~ ~ ~
Do you have any tips for the aspiring author? Where are you along your writing journey?

  • How To Publish a Book: Beginning Your Writing Journey ~ @tessaemilyhall Click to Tweet!
  • There are three things every aspiring author must do: Read. Research. And most importantly, write. ~ @tessaemilyhall Click to Tweet!
  • Passion, prayer, patience, and perseverance always pays off. ~ @tessaemilyhall Click to Tweet!
(Be sure to check back on Saturday when I announce the Purple Moon Prize Pack giveaway winners! Also, stop by on Tuesday for your chance to win an autographed copy of Karen Kingsbury's upcoming release, Fifteen Minutes!)


  1. Thanks for this post, Tessa! This answers a few questions I've had. I'm definitely going to come back to this post in the future!

    1. I'm glad that you enjoyed it, Jillian! Thanks for your comment! =)


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