Becoming an Author

It’s funny. Being a writer is easy. You get an idea, you write it down, you edit it a few times and voila! You’re a writer. If you’re lucky, and mildly talented, you can get someone to pay you to write–newsletters, brochures, websites, etc. I’ve had that good fortune for over 15 years.

But being an author? That’s a LOT of work.

First you get an idea for a book–that’s the easy part.

Then you start to write, realize you don’t know what you’re doing, talk to other writers, and maybe join a club or go to a conference. Over time, you manage to craft a pretty good story and you’re ready to “Become an Author.” Da da da dum.

That’s when things get tricky. Here are steps 1 through 397 (or so it seems):

  1. Write a synopsis of your novel (it’s very tricky to squeeze a 300 page novel into a 3 page summary: Boy meets Girl, Boy likes Girl, Girl gets mad at Boy, Girl wallows, Boy gets angry, Boy admits he’s wrong and they live happily ever after)
  2. Find someone to pitch to. This can be done by searching online for publishers, making contacts at conferences, entering contests–winning–and being referred to a publisher, or just dumb luck (a friend of a friend? Score!)

Here were the rest of my steps–your reality may vary:

  • Get rejected
  • Re-write pitch, summary and first 3 chapters about five times
  • Give the right pitch to the right publisher and submit your manuscript
  • Get accepted! And get a contract
  • Find someone who knows what they’re doing to review your contract.
  • Develop a bio, get a professional photo, submit cover art outline, write your book blurb, get your manuscript copyrighted and all the other boring administrative stuff.
  • Start the editing process. YIKES! You thought you had a book good enough to get published and then all your appallingly bad writing flaws are brought to your attention–page after page of corrections, comments, notes, insertions and deletions.
  • THEN you have to start thinking about marketing. Set up a website, twitter account, facebook, pinterest, whatever you think you can keep up with, whatever you have time to learn.

That’s where I am now. I’ve finished my edits, created a website and started a twitter feed(@alleighburrows). I look forward to the next 43 steps I’m sure are coming. That should be the inspiration for my next blog.

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