Jenn FitzGerald Books: Successful Publishing-Week 2
Welcome back to my series on successful publishing.
Last week, we went over the entire editing process, which is quite a lot more than what most indie authors realize. If you haven’t seen that one, you can read about all five of the different steps involved in a true editing process by clicking this link, or searching my name here to find my posts.
Now let’s chat about the actual first step in successful publishing. I skipped over this last week because I personally tend to not see authors until they are already at a step two stage. So what is the first step? “Well…writing of course,’ you say.
First on the list is actually a lot more than what you think. No, it is not just ‘write the book.’ That is actually down the line a ways. The absolute first thing you truly should do to assist with successful publishing, is take some writing classes. This one is something you should be constantly doing. So many authors submit writing to me that is unpolished, no character development, inconsistent point-of-view, and no hook. I can admit that even I have issues with this.
As someone who is more of a book designer, it took me quite a while, (and many classes outside of my college degrees), to get a grasp on these items, when it came to my own writing. Even now, I recognize when I slip, and often will need to seek out assistance to make sure I fix it before submitting to my editor.
Writing is an art form, and like any other art, it requires constant improvement. I often refer to an author’s tool belt. Writing classes are just one of many things you need to hang there.
Remember what Abe Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” This holds true for writing as well.
Even if you do posses a degree in literature, attending many classes on how to write fiction and such, how long ago was that? Is it all still fresh in your mind? Is the axe sharp?
For the rest of the population of writers who have not taken those classes, what do you truly know about the process? Do you even have an axe yet? Or is it still just a stick of wood and a block of iron, waiting to be created?
Everyone has a story. No matter how dull you feel your life is, there are people out there who would find it interesting. But! The telling of the tale is what makes or breaks successful publishing. Does your reader connect with your protagonist; are they believable, do they have flaws as well as amazing abilities? Does your antagonist have a true cause, and do they have some likeable qualities as well? That last may come as a surprise to some, but it’s true. If the antagonist is so horrible that there is nothing redeeming, it actually doesn’t make for a good story.
I guess it is ok if you don’t even know what protagonist and antagonist mean, although to me, that is a nick in the blade. Understanding all elements of your art is what makes a great author. So get out there and sign up for some writing classes. Find your local writing association, they are everywhere.
Even if you have already written your manuscript, as you begin to take these classes and learn, you will know where you need to revisit your writing. If you truly feel you need to rush to the publisher and want to know at minimum what I recommend, Point-of-View is probably number one. Then character development. I honestly have never heard of a class all about The Hook, that one is a lesson I would attend regularly, since it is really how to sell your book.
Once again, a lot of food for thought, and a lot of actionables to have the best chance at successful publishing. Next week, I will move to the book production stage; everything that goes into making your book look professional. See you next Friday!
Jennifer FitzGerald is the owner and lead designer at Mother Spider and the CEO of Mother Spider Publishing. You can connect with her at all of these locations and more: