People in this conversation
by Carolyn Brown
Just because you’ve bought a new range and it has a self-cleaning oven does not mean it will bake a cake if you don’t know how to turn it on. And today’s ranges aren’t like the old ones with one knob on the back. No, ma’am, they’ve got all kinds of computerized gadgets you have to learn how to operate.
But you really, really love chocolate cake, so a bunch of little buttons will not intimidate you—no sir! Bring on the manual.
Okay, now apply that same attitude to writing a book.
The first thing is to decide WHAT you are going to write. Romance, women’s fiction, paranormal, cowboys, science fiction… You get the idea. This is kind of like deciding what kind of range you were going to buy in the first place.
Now it’s time to study the market. This is like opening the owner’s manual and learning to turn on that complicated range in the first place. You don’t want to write an erotic paranormal romance book and waste time sending it to an inspirational publisher. Read, read, read, and read more books in the market that best suit your style to see how the bestselling authors in that field do it.
You’ve now figured out how to turn on the oven, so to speak. It’s time to mix the sugar and eggs and get busy writing. Speaking from experience here, the idea will not suddenly appear in beautiful form without some work. So be prepared to put in the hours…and hours…and a few more hours every day to get your idea from head to fingers to manuscript.
Ding, ding, ding! The timer goes off and you’ve finished the book. Feels pretty good, doesn’t it? Tomorrow, it’s going to be a bestseller, and day after tomorrow, you will have movie producers beating a path to your door. But first, you have to get an editor to look at it. Time to go back to the manual… Which one of those publishers are interested in the type of book you’ve just written?
This is the place where I recommend Jeff Hermann’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents. It’s an invaluable book and will save precious time you can use to write the sequel to your novel. Just open it up and be prepared for amazing things. You’ve already decided what you are going to write. This gem tells you who is interested in what you’ve written, which agents represent your work, and which publishers require an agent.
1. The genre is right. You are not sending a historical romance to a sci-fi editor, right?
2. You are sending exactly what that editor wants and the format is exactly right.
3. It’s sent!
4. Now it’s time to WAIT!
5. While you are waiting, which can be anywhere between fifteen minutes or fifteen months, go write another book.
6. Oh no! A rejection! You get fifteen minutes to pout, whine, or have a hissy fit and go right back to number-one and more queries. PRESERVANCE is the key word. Remember the range? You can’t eat the cake until it’s cooked. You can’t frost it until it’s cooled. (The frosting is the contract you get to sign when you get “the call” and your book has a home.)
And that’s how you get from there to here, from an idea to a New York Times bestselling book. Good luck, and have fun!
|Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with more than sixty books published. She writes bestselling single title cowboy and country music mass market romances, as well as women’s fiction. Born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma, Carolyn and her husband now make their home in the town of Davis, Oklahoma.|
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