So you completed your 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month or maybe you didn't, but you've been bitten by the writing/publishing bug and you want to know what to do with what you've written. That's why we have put together this small resource guide for you.
First things first. Congratulations on having written however much you have written! Getting words onto paper (or a Word document) is an important first step. The next step is -- in some ways -- more difficult. You need to put aside your document for a day or two, a week or two, or maybe even a month and then come back with fresh eyes. Put on your editor's hat and take a serious look at what you have written. In the heat of the moment, we may think everything we've written is wonderful. Or we might think much of it is junk. Either way, taking a break from your writing and rereading it with your editor's hat on is a necessary step if you want to get published. Few author's (or any other type of writers for that matter) are able to write a perfect first draft. Here are a couple of good articles on editing and revising:
Editing Your First Novel: 7 Things You Must Know
How to Revise a Novel
Finding a Publisher
Finding a home for your novel will take patience, research, and perseverance. Start by figuring out what genre you think your novel is. Remember that it is possible that it might fit into more than one genre. If you are having trouble deciding what genre it is think of a book you have read that is similar and then see where it is placed in the bookstore. Then research presses that publish novels like yours. You can find lots of good information in the Writer's Market. Most libraries have at least one copy.
Instead of going directly to a publisher, you may want to look for a literary agent. You can find literary agents listed in the Writer's Market or The Guide to Literary Agents. You can also attend conferences like the ones below that provide short meetings with agents and editors.
Finally, you could consider publishing your novel your self. That gives you full control over the title, content, and how it is marketed as well as all the profits. One key element to self-publishing is to invest the time and money to make certain your novel is edited to be the best possible. Nothing is worse than reading a book with a ton of grammatical errors and story line mishaps.
Whichever route you take, it will benefit you to spend some time researching and networking with others as well as thinking about the next topic: Marketing/Platform.
Publishing Your Novel
DFW Writers Conference
Writers' League of Texas Agents' Conference
Gone are the days when publishers would arrange for book tours for authors. That generally only happens with big-name authors any more. Successful authors need to take an active role in their marketing plan. And...if you want to find a publisher, you will be more successful if you have already started working on your platform and have some marketing ideas ready.
What is your platform? Your platform is your presence, your outreach to potential buyers. Do you have a blog? A Facebook account? Do you Twitter? Are you a member of any organizations that could help you in marketing your book? You don't have to have all of these, but you need to have some way to get information out there about your book. After all, your book is competing with thousands of other books. How will someone find it? What will make them decide to buy yours instead of another similar book? That's where your platform and marketing efforts come in.
Another thing you will want to think about both for your marketing efforts and finding a publisher is networking. You need to make connections and talk to others in the writing, reading, and publishing worlds. You can do this by attending some of the conferences above as well as joining a writing group or organization. Many libraries offer local writing groups. In addition, try some of these larger organizations for writers:
Writers' League of Texas
Story Circle Network (For Women)
The Writer's Garret (Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex)
The suggestions and links above are just a few of the many resources available out there. We wish the best as you continue your quest to publish your novel!
We hope you will take a few moments to fill out this survey on NaNoWriMo 2011 at TWU. Thank you!