Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How to Become an Author in Today's Publishing World: P. 1 – Setting the Foundation

An author’s role in the publishing world has changed drastically from what it used to be. Decades ago, the average fiction author had almost zero contact with their readership—other than the fan letters they’d receive in the mail. Authors weren’t expected to understand marketing; their publishers handled it for them. In attempt to land a deal with a literary agent, it wasn’t required that the fiction author already have an established platform. That platform could come after the book was published.

Now, though, authors are expected to wear more than just the writing hat. Most publishers expect to see at least somewhat of an established platform for fiction authors. Oh, and let’s not forget about marketing! Aspiring authors should know what it takes to promote their book once it becomes a published product.

Other factors that play into the probability of landing an agent include: placing in contests, attending writing conferences, publishing articles, etc.

It’s no wonder so many aspiring authors are scared away from moving forward in their publication dreams!

However, it’s not impossible to break into the industry—even if you’re a writer with zero experience and zero platform. The process isn’t as intimidating as it seems. And yes, it can be tackled when it’s broken down into bite-sized pieces.

So, how can an aspiring author go from virtually a “nobody” in the publishing world and stand out in the pile of submissions on an agent’s desk?

In this series, I’m going to walk you through how to become an author in today’s publishing world by presenting the process in achievable steps. That way, you can map out the journey that will lead you to Destination Publication. ;)

Today, I’m going to start by explaining how an aspiring author can begin their journey. What can writers do to set the foundation for their writing dreams?

1 - Write. This one should go without saying. Make it a priority to finish your book and write it to the best of your ability.

What this looks like: Schedule writing sessions into your weekly/daily routine. Create goals, if necessary, to prevent procrastination. The best way to learn how to write a book comes through experience. Once it’s written, find critique partners who can provide valuable feedback, then consider hiring a freelance editor. (Shameless plug: I recently launched a critique service for writers! Click here for details.)

Posts that might help:

  • How to Finish Your Book This Year by Creating Writing Goals
  • 10 Ways to Defeat Writer's Block During NaNoWriMo 
  • 5 Must-Haves for the Writer Struggling to Focus

  • 2 - Research. Research the craft of writing, the publication process, and stay updated on the publishing industry.

    What this looks like: Attend writing conference. Enroll in writing courses. (Check out Serious Writers Academy, Young Writers Workshop, and Write Now.) Subscribe to Publishers Weekly. Stay updated on writing and publishing blogs such as this one. ;) Understand how a book is published. You’ll want to research the writing craft, how to build a platform, and how to market a book.

    Posts that might help:

    3 – Read. When you’re not writing, read books in the genre you’d like to write.

    What this looks like: Carve out time every day/week to catch up on your TBR pile. Read the bestsellers in your genre so you can stay updated on what’s trending and become familiar with genre expectations.

    Posts that might help:

    4 – Connect. Connections will take you far in this industry.

    What this looks like: Find a local writer’s group to join. Attend a writing conference and pass out business cards. Interact with other writers on social media. Join private FB groups for writers.

    Posts that might help:

    5 – Establish your platform and brand. No, it’s never too early to attract a potential readership!

    What this looks like: Set up your social media accounts and decide which ones you’d like to remain active on. Then, create a scheduling plan. As you do this, keep your brand in mind. How do you want to be viewed in the industry? Who is your audience, and where can you find them?

    Posts that might help:

    6 – Gain credentials. In your future book proposal, you’ll need to create a list of writing credentials. Begin building that list now.

    What this looks like: Purchase the latest copy of Christian Writers Market Guide or Writer’s Market Guide and submit articles for publication. (Not only will these publishing credits look impressive on your proposal, it’ll also bring more exposure to you as well—thus increasing your platform.) Enter contests. Enroll in writing courses. (Again, check out SeriousWritersAcademy.comYoung Writers Workshop, and Write Now..)

    Posts that might help:

    Summary: Being a published author doesn’t happen overnight. Even though the process is no longer as simple as writing a good book and sending it off on submission, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming, either. The key is to approach the journey step-by-step. Step one? Build a foundation.

    Then, once the foundation is built, it’ll be time to launch forward and seek publication. We’ll discuss that in next week’s post.

    ~ ~ ~

    What’s your favorite and least favorite step on this list? How do you approach the writer’s journey? What questions do you have that you’d like me to answer in the next posts?


    How to Become an Author in Today's Publishing World: P. 1 – Setting the Foundation @TessaEmilyHall #writerslife #publishing


    1. This is helpful. I have no idea what I'm going to do with my enormous first book, it's very long. Thanks for writing this!!!

      1. Glad you found it helpful! As for the enormous book, just be sure it stays within the standard word count range of its genre. ;)

    2. This is so helpful and inspiring!

      I'm working on connecting just with my blog and other social media platforms, which is definitely one of my favorite part asides from writing. ;D

      Thank you for this post!

      -Gray Marie |

      1. I love blogging and connecting with others on social media, too. =) Thanks for stopping by!

      2. Don't mention it! I don't comment on your blog a lot, but I really enjoy reading your posts. <3


    Thanks for stopping by my blog!