Any writers who are trying to publish books can relate. I’ve written two manuscripts this year and as much as I want to send the first drafts to agents and expedite the publishing process (BIG NO-NO) I know that I need to take time out and edit and polish these manuscripts (particularly my NaNoWriMo novel, I’m in love with it!) as well as I can. I can’t help but be antsy and think of the day when I’ll see my books on shelves. But it’s not all bad, and the fact that we aren’t published yet does have it’s perks. I’ve made this list for aspiring authors (and myself to look back on when I’m feeling particularly antsy) for all of the good reasons that we aren’t published… yet.
There are so many Fellowships, Grants, and Writers’ Residencies that are geared specifically towards unpublished authors. So many! I may do a separate post on all of the ones I’ve found, but for so many that I’ve come across, one of the main requirements was to be unpublished. So that means countless oppportinites to have uninterrupted writing time at a writers’ residency, or earn money through grants, not to mention countless networking opportunites and ways to get your work and name out there, which brings me to my next point.
You have more time to promote yourself. While you are waiting for the day when you secure that book deal, you can start building your audience through blogging, vlogging, writing on websites like Wattpad, or publishing short stories. That way, when the book is slated to release you’ll already have supporters who are anticipating your release just as much as you are. Imagine being able to follow one of your favorite authors from the editing process all the way to publication! I would love to do that, and I’m sure people would love to do that for you. Also, if you’re name is already circulating in journals or magazines, this might help enhance your query letter just a little bit more.
You can still learn about the publishing world. I learned something the other day from a writer friend that I had no clue about before, and it turned about to be vital information. I can’t even imagine getting published before learning that information and having it sprung on me. While working and waiting to be published, you can use this time to educate yourself a little more about the business, book deals, publishers, and agents that suit your needs. When I finished my first manuscript, I wanted any agent that would have me. Now, I have a better idea of what I want in an agent, among other things!
You can make writer friends! It helps to have friends who are going through the same thing as you, (if you are an aspiring author, feel free to say hello!) friends who have gone through this process already, and some who are going through the process with you right now. Friends you can celebrate with when one of you does get published, and friends who you can vent to when you got rejected or when you’re waiting to hear from the agent you really want to sign with.
You can hone your craft a little more. Although I’m proud of my 1st manuscript, my writing has definitely gotten better with the second one, from writing in my journal, blogging, freelancing, and just using that writing muscle way more frequently. Even with some of my favorite authors, authors who write absolutely phenomenal work, I’ve noticed that there work gets better and better with each book. The more time to have before you get published, the more time to have to practice!
This will help us with patience. Let’s face it. Since we want to be authors, we better get acquainted with waiting. Waiting on beta readers to get back to us with notes, waiting for agents to respond to queries, partials, and fulls, waiting on editors, waiting on book deals, waiting for our book release, waiting, waiting waiting. I’m not a super “impatient” person, but I can be impulsive and that’s not very good trait to have in this business. Waiting and working for that moment where we can say “this manuscript is polished” will prepare us for all of the waiting that we’ll have to do, and help us learn more about ourselves in the process. And by waiting, I don’t mean constantly checking our email every five minutes for any updates (not that I’ve done this or anything) but actively doing some of the things I’ve listed above: making friends, becoming a better writer, educating yourself… and don’t forget about the things that have absolutely nothing to do with writing, just so you can clear your head. Plus, those are the things that give us the best inspiration!
So, don’t worry fellow writers. We aren’t published yet, but with hard work and faith, we’ll get there. In the meantime, become the best writer you can be! I’d love to hear any of your tips that I may not have listed. Please leave them below in the comment section!
Thanks for reading,