A Word on the Journey to Publication

The week before last I hit a huge milestone in completing a revision on one of my manuscripts and it was a really important goal of mine to achieve. That success is a step in the direction of publication, but nowhere near the finish line.

I’ll preface this to say that what I am working to accomplish is to have a book traditionally published while working with an agent. The steps I’m taking are all in the direction of first finding an agent to work with and second to get a book contract with a publisher. A very simplified, brief overview of that process is to write a manuscript, revise that manuscript until it is its best version of itself, and then start to query that story to agents for representation. That is where I am. I have a story that I am sending out to find an agent to work with. Once that happens, I will work with the agent to ship the manuscript to publishers and then begin that part of the journey toward publication.

Last week I revised my query letter for MS:D and the materials to start querying, which is usually a synopsis of the story and the first chapter. I started sending out queries to agents who are looking for stories like mine for representation and have already started receiving rejections. Even though I KNOW that this is what is supposed to happen on the road to success, and that I was prepared for that sequence of events to happen, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it was still really, really difficult to go through. The price a writer pays on the road to traditional publication is the steady onslaught of rejection. Those rejections are usually given as a form rejection, without any specific feedback on the story itself, and will be given based on only the materials sent, which is only the first 2,000 words of the 68,000-70,000 words written. This is the truth for most writers as many published authors will attest. It is the price I’m willing to pay, but it’s not something I should take lightly and last week served to remind me of this.

This week will be all about diving headfirst into preparing for NaNoWriMo as it rapidly approaches. There are a few things I want to accomplish before November first hits, not the least of which is to make sure my Scrivener doc is completely set for me to start writing. Mostly I want to do some brainstorming on the three acts, which are just barely sketched out, and start to figure out my pacing for the story. I’ve found it to be hugely helpful to know roughly where in my word count I will be when I hit big moments in the story to base my planning on. I also want to take some time this week to start to inspect some of my characters and their motivations. This story is loosely based on true experiences, but I want it to be told through a very, VERY fictionalized filter. There are many reasons for that, and the most important one is that it is how the story has presented itself to me. When I’ve thought of these things I experienced as a young adult and how they would be put into a story, it always comes to me through characters experiencing them. Those characters bring their own take and flavor to the actions that occur in the story and this week I’m going to fully open myself up to listening to them and hearing what they have to say about how this story will be told.

In case you haven’t been told lately, you are more than enough.

Happy Writing!

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