Wednesday, January 4, 2017

How to Navigate Today’s Publishing Industry P.1: What’s Your Destination?

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It’s a new year, which means it's time to set goals and make plans that will breathe life into our dreams. I love how the new year always reminds us that we won't see the results we hope for unless there is action involved. And how can there be action involved? By creating goals. But it'd be impossible to create goals without first having a dream.

Before we set out on our writing journey, at some point we've dreamt of becoming an author. Dreaming of having a book published precedes the actual publication. It’s this overall vision that keeps our fingers racing over the keyboard. Yet if we want our writing to become a career and not just a hobby, then it’s necessary to create goals. How do we do that? By first looking ahead to where we want to be, then asking ourselves: What steps can I take to get there?

It can be compared to the act of setting out on a road trip. We find out the address of our destination, plug it into our GPS, and follow the directions. (At least, that's how we do it nowadays! Thankfully I've never had to drive somewhere new without the use of a robot telling me where to go.)

Yet too many aspiring authors become caught up in the dream phase. They write here and there in their spare moments; however, their book is never finished because they placed publication in the same compartment as wishful thinking. They don’t, in a sense, find out the “address” of publication (research how to become published), plug it into their GPS (create mini-goals that may eventually lead them to their destination), and set out on the journey (perseverance).

I know the process might be complicated and a bit daunting for the aspiring author. That’s why I’m going to break down the steps for you in this new blog series titled, How to Navigate Today’s Publishing Industry.

Today, we’re going to discuss the destination. What's your overall goal? To become an author? If so, write this down in your journal or a Word Document. Then, make it even more specific. What kind of author do you want to become? Your response may be “to become a best-selling author of historical fiction” or “to make a living as a YA romance novelist”.

Then, take as long as you want detailing this dream of yours. How often do you want to publish a book? Will you write across genres? What kind of publishing model are you aiming for? Don’t be afraid to dream too big! There’s no harm in dreaming. In fact, this dream will provide you with the motivation you need to persevere, especially when you come across roadblocks. Remember that science actually supports the act of visualizing our dreams.

But of course the dream won’t come to pass unless we take the necessary steps to achieve it.

First, we need to understand how the publishing process works.

Let’s look at the big picture — our "map" from a bird's-eye view. In simple terms, how does one become an author in today’s publishing industry?

  • Step 1: Writer writes the book. 
  • Step 2: While the writer writes the book, they also make an effort into building an online presence. Today’s writer must understand the importance of platform when it comes to attracting attention from agents, publishers, and readers. They could also network with other writers on social media and on the blogosphere during this time. 
  • Step 3: Writer spends necessary time editing, revising, and rewriting their manuscript. They may join a critique group during this time and/or send their manuscript to be critiqued by their critique partner.
  • Step 4: When the book is ready, writer pitches it to agents and/or publishers. They might also attend a writing conference during this time and pitch to agents/publishers face-to-face. 
  • Step 5: While the writer waits for a response, they continue making efforts to grow their platform and hone their craft. They then set off to work on their next project.

Now that you have your Address (publication goal) and understand the basics on how to get there, your next step is to break down the above steps by creating mini-goals that will help you reach this Destination. That’s exactly what I’ll help you do in next week’s post. =)

Meanwhile, if you have any questions about the publishing process, please let me know in the comments!

~ ~ ~

Questions for you… 

What’s your writing-related goal for this year? Do you believe that visualization plays a key role in seeing a dream come to pass?


How can writers navigate today's publishing industry? Advice from @TessaEmilyHall #writingtips #writerslife


  1. One of my biggest writing goals this year is to finish the first draft of my novella-turned-novel, and write a first draft of something brand-new as well. I'm really excited about both goals - though I don't know if either of them will actually be accomplished amidst the craziness that will be 2017 xD.

    I don't know if visualization plays a "key role" in fulfilling a dream - but visuals are definitely a big motivator for me when it comes to my goals :).

    ~ Savannah

    1. I love that you have specific writing goals, Savannah! Even though I think it's wise to set realistic goals, I've discovered that setting high goals helps me to achieve more than I thought were possible. I always remind myself of this quote: "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." - Les Brown

      Thanks for commenting!



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