Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Decisions A New Novelist Must Make

Have you ever felt like this woman? Most of us have had such moments. Recently, I've been having an email conversation with a woman who wrote and self-published her first novel. She had kindly sent me a copy and I read and enjoyed it. 

Naturally, she wanted my opinion on the book. Then she asked me if I thought it worth her time and money to try to get an agent. She is already working on book number 2. We chatted about it and she remarked that the marketing of her book was a big job and that there is so much to learn about the publishing world.

How right she was. If being a writer only involved the actual creating a story or essay or poem, we'd all be happy. But it involves so much more--that is, if we want to sell what we've written and if we would like to be represented by an agent or publishing house. 

One of the things a new novelist needs to do is to read as much as possible about the things listed here:

1. self-publishing vs selling to a publishing house

2. how to find an agent

3. ebook vs print? or both?

4. how to write a good query letter 

5. marketing the book 

6. how to find reviewers other than friends and family 

Another thing to do is to talk with other novelists who have been successful in finding an agent and/or marketing their book. I don't mean a 2 minute conversation but to spend some real time with an experienced writer. 

Give some thought to the matter of producing more books once you've found an agent. It's an ongoing process. One book is not going to do it. Are you confident that you can keep writing new books?

Think about the amount of time all this is going to take. Do you have the time, or are you willing to make the time? Is your passion for writing and publishing more books great enough? 

The poor woman in the picture may have taken on too much. Or she may love to write and hate all the other things that are part of the writing world. She definitely needs to sit down and sort it all out! 

The person I had the email conversation with wrote a book that kept me turning the pages. She's heard a similar reaction from other readers of this first novel. There are things in her first novel that might have been done better and I'm sure she'll be cognizant of that in the second book. I've heard successful authors say that your first novel should go into a drawer and stay there forever. It's the one you learn from. I don't agree with that 100% but there is some merit to that thought. Now, she must decide how much more she is willing to take on. No one else can make that decision for her. 

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