Writers want to have their works read. Maybe want is not a strong enough word: Need to have? Must have?
If your story is a lamp . . .
You, as a writer, want to have the lamp used and enjoyed, do you not? A lamp certainly doesn’t do much good unless it is plugged in and switched on. As a writer, you need an outlet. A place to plug in.
There are several types of outlets available to you as a writer–traditional publishing, self publishing, pod-casting, e-book publishing, or even sharing it on your website or blog. There are probably more. But as I see it, at least one thing common with all of these methods is that you, the writer, generally have to wire up the outlet. That’s right . . . you get to play electrician.
In traditional publishing you may be provided with a nice showroom and a table for your lamp, and perhaps some assistance to get foot traffic in the room to see the lamp you have created. But getting that electrical outlet ready to go so the lamp can be turned on is largely up to the author. I admit that I don’t have personal experience with self publishing, e-book publishing, etc., but I have learned a lot about those methods during my quest to succeed with traditional publishing. That knowledge brings me to this conclusion: The journey to becoming published is similar, no matter what publishing method is actually used. You still need to know how to make that manuscript the best it can be. You need to know about marketing. About websites, and promotions, and signings, and distribution and much more. At the very least you need to know what your options are so you can decide where to build your outlet and plug that lamp in!
How do you do it? More specifically, how did I do it? What kinds of things provide the electricity to make a writer’s lamp shine?
Here is a list of publishing and writing resources which either helped me to get started, or help me now to keep the lights on. I list them in no particular order. They have all been helpful and are worthy of mention.
1. LDS Publisher, Danyelle Ferguson, Precision Editing Group
One of the first publishing related blogs I discovered was LDS Publisher. An excellent resource for authors, agents, and publishers, I think it was the first blog where I asked a question. If I remember correctly, I asked where I could go to find a reputable freelance editor to help me with my manuscript. That led me to Danyelle Ferguson. The editing job that she did on my first draft is a big part of the reason I eventually found a publisher to accept my work. Another great group of editors: Precision Editing Group. Although I have not used their services, I know of writers who have, and they come highly recommended. And the cool thing about them: They’re all published authors!
2. Query Tracker and Elana Johnson
I must say that this site is one of the most helpful sites on the internet for a writer. Most of the big publishing houses don’t accept works for consideration unless it comes through an agent. Agent? Where do you get an agent? Query Tracker is a fantastic resource for doing just that: finding an agent who will love your work and then help you to get a publishing contract. I personally don’t have an agent because I went direct with a new publisher, but if the time ever comes that I do need to find an agent, this is the site where I will do it. Don’t forget to follow the official Query Tracker Blog. Good stuff every week. You’ll not regret it. One of my favorite contributors there at Query Tracker is Elana Johnson. Follow Elana at her personal blog. She’s a riot. She needs more stalkers.
3. Chip MacGregor
Chip is a very well known agent in the industry. Whether you write Christian Fiction/Non-Fiction or not, his website is a wealth of information. His blog (which is updated almost daily), is one of the best insights I have found into what the publishing industry is all about. I highly recommend that you read what he’s got to say. He also seems to be a really nice guy. He has even commented here on my blog because I asked him a question. Cool, huh?
4. Nathan Bransford
Nathan is a legend. I think he has more twitter followers than any other agent in the industry, and possibly the most blog followers too. If you want to know what it takes to be a published author, he should be at the top of your list of resources. He has both a website and a blog. You can find him on twitter here: http://twitter.com/nathanbransford.
5. Jordan McCollum
Jordan is an extremely talented marketing guru (blogs over at Marketing Pilgrim), and an award winning writer. What impresses me the most about the content on her personal website/blog are the writer education series that she does. If you want some serious nuts-and-bolts writing help to make your story shine, follow her blog. Be prepared to read her blog posts SLOWLY. She packs a lot of information into those posts!
6. Tristi Pinkston
Besides being a prolific blogger (I have no idea how many blogs she participates in, there are so many), she is a published author, a writers conference organizer, and an inspiration to many of the authors I personally know. She is also the Senior Editor at Valor Publishing Group. That makes her my editor. And I think she is awesome. She has great writing tips each Tuesday at the Day to Day with Valor Publishing site, which I would highly recommend. If you are interested in finding out more about Tristi, you can follow her personal blog.
7. Writing Excuses
The folks over at Writing Excuses are cool people. Brandon Sanderson. Dan Wells. Howard Tayler. Stacy Whitman. Eric James Stone. Authors, editors, cartoonists. Podcasts for writers. Not only are they extremely entertaining, but if you dig a bit deeper into their website, you will find some serious treasures. Go check it out!
There are a lot more places that help me plug into the publishing industry. But, I think seven is a good number. Let’s end there. I may add to this later.
For those of you who use Twitter, I have several compiled “lists” which may be of help to you. You don’t even have to follow me (@DaronFraley) to be able to follow the lists. I have publishing industry related lists for Literary-Agents, Publishers, Authors, Book-Reviewers, Editors, Indie-Bookstores, Publicity-and-Marketing, and more.
Let me know what you think! What are the sites and who are the people who help you plug in? Please share links to them in the comments.