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the journey: how to get published (part 2)

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You’ve made the decision to pursue your dream. (Well done you!) You’ve been hitting the books, learning as much as you can. You’ve sent off your queries and proposals. So, we left off right here…

5. Make new friends. You’ll find that a sense of community can be incredibly supportive as you pursue publication. You can connect with others that truly understand the publishing ups and downs, and who can help encourage you through them. There are amazing writing organizations (ACFW or the RWA, for example) that can help you find a critique group, and get you plugged-in to local chapters of writers and published authors. (You might be surprised that there are several that already live in your area.) One of the best and easiest places to start networking is on social media. Start following writing blogsauthor blogs/websitesFacebook groups and agency websites. Becoming familiar with the business is a great way to make some authentic industry relationships. You might even find that some of your favorite authors are very open about speaking with their readers and aspiring writers about the journey to publication. Get out there and make some friends while you’re waiting to hear back about your proposals – you might just find yourself encouraged!  

6. Throw your hat in the ring. Entering contests is a fantastic way to get your work in front of industry professionals. There are no guarantees of course, but if your contest submission stands out from the crowd you could find your work in an editor’s hands. And that could be the break you need. (Hey – it could happen! I met my editor through a contest win this past spring.)

I am a firm believer in the value of entering contests, for several reasons. The first, of course,  is to get your work in the right hands. But another good reason is to continue to improve in the craft of fiction writing. Let’s face it; receiving feedback can sting. It’s not fun to hear about the weak spots in our writing. But if it’s received from an unbiased source, such as via an experienced contest judge, you’ll find that they might have some valuable insights to improve your work. Entering contests – and winning them! – can also boost your author platform. It helps to query an agent or editor and be able to punctuate your signature with a host of contest wins and finalist honors.

Last – you might find this stage of the publication journey to be painful. You may receive rejections from agents or publishers. You might have disappointing contest scores. Perhaps you’ve received a tough critique to the manuscript you thought was air-tight. All I can say is that it happens. Even some of the most famous authors received rejections. If you had high hopes and have hit a rough patch, it’s okay to take a break and then come back and try again. What you might not have realized is that a lone contest win can boost you enough to keep moving forward.

7. Expect the impossible. When you’re finaling, and then winning contests… When you’re getting attention from publishers but just haven’t received that Yes yet… When you’ve signed with an agent… When you start to gain a following on social media and notice that your writing has greatly improved… it’s inevitable. A contract offer is the next step. So at this stage in the game, you might not need this post anymore. Instead, you’re going to move into the world of being a published author. (That’s an altogether different place to start over with your learning…) Remember when your dream turned into a goal? Remember, way back, when you started this journey? It’s really going to happen now and you’ve got to expect it. Make sure you’re thinking about the next steps – why you write what you do, and how you’ll really connect with your readers. Get ready to celebrate, because the impossible is about to happen!

If you’ve felt the call upon your life to be an author, I smile for you today. I’ve felt it to. And I’ve walked the path outlined in this post – every single step and with each word written – only because of my faith in Christ. That leads me to the last tip, and it’s the one that really matters.

8. Be patient. He will carry you. My journey to publication was a goal realized – one of those impossible dreams that has come true in my life. If you’ve read through the words and the links contained in this post, you’re probably still here because it’s a dream we share. But I must be honest with you – absolutely nothing I have in this life has come from my effort alone. Through every step, with every challenge overcome, and for every tear I shed in this journey, Jesus Christ has been my salvation. He is my encourager. He gives patience to weather the season of rejections. And what’s amazing – is that He’s ready to be the same for you.

If you want to be an author then take heart: He will carry you.

If you’re on this journey to publication, I’d love to connect with you! What resources have you found helpful? What stage of the journey are you in? Do you have any advice that could help others in their journey?

Leave a comment if there’s something on your mind. It’s your journey with Christ from here on out.

With Joy, 

Kristy Initials