"So You Think You're Done?"
A Blog by Tania Zaverta Chance
The title of this blog describes what I soon came to realize after finishing my novel, SHEgo (Coming July 2010). To make matters worse, (I’ll tell you the whole truth) the work actually begins even sooner than that. There’s all the research that you’ll have to do to understand the industry, figuring out who’s who, how to write a pitch letter, determining where to send your manuscript, and all types of other things that you can’t even imagine and that I assure you will take several dozen hours of your time and energy in order to understand. One website that I found particularly convenient in having compiled this much needed information in one place was www.agentquery.com
Writing itself was the easy part, especially if you remembered to:
o Use the same computer- so that you don’t become frustrated with different software versions re-formatting your work that, in turn, you’ll wind up repeatedly fixing as you weave together your final version.
o Save your work by date and time- so that you don’t waste time figuring out which file is the latest version of your manuscript, losing revisions, or endlessly right-clicking on files to figure out when they were created.
o Carry a voice recorder around- so that you avoid car accidents when driving down the road and reaching for a pen because you just thought up a perfect sentence that you just have to write down in that moment.
I wish I could tell you that this is all theoretical and that I didn’t have to learn these things the hard way. The tips (above) sound pretty simple, but don’t automatically come to the forefront of the mind when one is engaged in the creative process since these are all the mechanics of writing.
Let’s assume that you’ve survived the writing process (automobile accident included), and that you’ve figured out what the industry requires, and return to the topic of our title. Now is when your work begins! There are some things you should prepare yourself for:
o Edits, edits, and more edits!- Remember how much you loved everything you wrote? Well, keep reminding yourself of that feeling you had the moment you finished typing your last word because you may soon forget it. You will have to re-read, and re-work your manuscript so many times that even you may grow tired of your own words! Just remember, at this point, it is a labor of love that will be well worth your effort once the final galley is approved. My last point of advice around this topic is that even when you think your editor is crazy (s)he is usually right, so fix it!
o Talking Points- Knowing exactly what you meant when you wrote it and explaining what you meant to an objective and complete stranger are two totally different things. You will have to develop talking points to be able to explain your book in short sound bites that are succinct and sensible to a raw audience. Engaging in discussions with people who read your work proved to be helpful to me in formulating my talking points around SHEgo. Another practice that I found to be helpful was reading summaries of other books and listening to author interviews.
o Networking- Sorry! No matter how great your book undoubtedly is, it will not sell itself- - you don’t have all the answers and you will need the help of others to figure out how to sell it. Start by reaching out to other writers, join clubs & groups, and talk about your book to anyone who will listen. Yes, you will have to join social networks too, so you’ll have to overcome any fears of technology that you may have (or don’t yet know that you have once you start linking all of your pages together!) and get with the program. Get ready to create profiles, tweet, post on walls, and check messages a few times a day. It’s 2010, the world is plugged in- - you’re either in, or you’re out, you’ll want to be in!
In the end, you’ll make your offering to the world and will one day be offering your own tips to others. Hang in there!
About the Author: Dr. Tania Z. Chance is a native New Yorker who currently resides in America’s heartland. She holds a doctor of philosophy in education and is a recognized professional in her field. Her favorite past times are reading, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. She is currently marketing SHEgo and working on another novel. Chance operates an author's website at www.taniazavertachance.com