The Real Work Begins the Moment You’re Finished
Contributor
"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

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Comments
  • Cecilee Haywood

    Wow, Tania! You hit the mark. You make it sound easy, but it's not. You're right. And many of your tips don't
    immediately come to mind. This is very encouraging to me, since I was worried it was a bad thing to get sick of my own words as I was editing my story. Good to know it's normal.
    Anyway, you have a great post here!

  • Amber Guidara

    LOL! And people think that "just" writing a book is hard! Cheers, my dear, to "hanging in there"... white knuckles and all!! ~amber guidara

  • Jan Nerenberg

    Tip for shower writers - waterproof pen and a surveyer's pad/notebook (ask for it in your local book stationary store). They are waterproof and can hang on a hook or sit on a bench outside the shower but you can scribble your notes and then get back to your shower.

  • Deborah J. Thompson

    This is an EXCELLENT article with many helpful tips. You are so right about getting sick of your own words and carrying around a voice recorder (thankfully, my iphone has one built into it). And my husband actually taught me to save my work by date. He has a job where that is also crucial--such a simple tip, but such a valuable one!

    Thanks for the reminder that an Editor is usually right. When we submit our work to be published (and purchased) by someone else, we must learn to surrender much of the control over our "baby". Just as a parent goes through the pain of a child's independence, we also struggle with how to adapt to our work's "new (improved?) form".

    All of your tips are practical and beneficial to writers throughout the process. Talking points are helpful even as you write so that you can quickly convey the essence of your book to those who invariably ask what it is about.

    Thank you so much for putting all these in one easy to reference format! Best of luck with your book--keep us posted on its progress.

  • Jan Nerenberg

    Thanks for the friend invite. Just read James Mitchners' The Writer. It was great, one of the few books he's done where he sticks with the same characters throughout, but it was daunting to be see all that goes into book production once the original manuscript is accepted. And I loved your tips... I always date my manuscripts with the date I'm working on it (select all, copy, new page, paste, new date, and off I go). This way I never lose anything until I'm ready to "file 13" it.

  • Sheana Ochoa Writing

    Tania, so glad you friended me. Just joined SheWrites. Kudos on publishing SHEgo!!!!! When you say save your docs by date and time do you mean name the document by time and date? I have the hardest time finding the most updated versions of my chapters.

  • Kimberly Wesley

    This is great advice! I understand that our labor of love goes far beyon writing so many words, but everything else taht we do afterwards that counts.

  • Mary L. Tabor

    You are a shot in the arm today for me as I have been in "promotion mode" since June 25 when my memoir (Re)Making Love: a sex after sixty story came out. I have been working every day on all these aspects you discuss and woke up this morning thinking, Goodness, I need a day off. But off I go again. This is a great blog and I'm glad to be here. I am @maryltabor on Twitter, am on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-Tabor/125813534105239 and have a friend page as well: hope you'll join me on both and a blog at http://maryltabor.blogspot.com and a website: http://maryltabor.com and I'm teaching at GWU.

    Today, you helped me find me get-up and go again! Thank you, Tania. Hope to see you in the other social media and am off to check out your novel!! Thanks for finding me. You've made my day.

    Mary

  • Dear Tania:
    Great tips on how to begin writing my book! Thanks so much! The name of my book is Racism, Sexism, Police Brutality, Corruption and the Mafia in Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It is a work of non-fiction. Good luck with SheGo! I have a personal message which I will direct to your website! Your new friend, Elaine

  • Wendy Lawless

    Hi Tania, Thanks for the friending! I am fairly new to SW as well. I will definitely check out your blog and book. I am in the process of trying to find an agent for my first book so I know I can learn from you, indeed from all the writers here. Bests, Wendy Lawless

  • Sunny Frazier

    Tania, I have to agree with your blog post and go a step beyon: Marketing should start at the moment you decide to write a book! I just got back from Killer Nashville (I'm a mystery author) and I spoke on a panel with marketing experts. We all agreed that name recognition is vital before publication. The buzz word "Platform" is on everyone's lips. Publishers are asking for a marketing plan. I'm acquisitions editor for a small publishing house, and before I read a query letter, I google the writer's name. I'm looking for people actively involved on social/professional sites such as this one.

    Sure, it's work. Fun work. I wish people would embrace marketing and realize how much harder it was BEFORE we had the Internet!

  • Buffi Neal

    Tania,
    Thanks for the tips - it feels great to know someone understands what I've been going through. Your video has a great voice. I'm also inspired to write when I drive. I actually often keep my journal on my lap and write while driving - my sister yells at me to pull over.

    Amy >> I understand completely about the getting great ideas in the shower - this happens to me too and I always wish I had some of those kiddy bath crayons to write on the walls.

    Keep up the great work - your video is fantastic (the voice is soothing and compeling). Thanks for reaching out in friendship.

    Buffi
    My Wonderfully Dysfunctional Blog

  • Amy Wise

    Tania,

    I read this the other day and it was as if you were reading my mind. I need to invent waterproof pen and paper because for some reason all my GREAT ideas come to me in the shower like yours do in the car! =) My relaxing shower turns into a game of "repeat that in my head" so I don't forget that fabulous idea while the shampoo is running down my back! So much for relaxation! We are all here because of our passion and love for writing....so thank YOU for the tips, and for reminding us that we are in this together and we all have a LOT of "work" to do.....but when you love it, is it really "work?" Not so much! Good luck with your book!

    Amy
    www.themanyshadesoflove.blogspot.com

  • Denise H. Todd

    ...and here we thought we were writers, but find that we are also researchers, editors, agent vetters, marketers, sellers, distributors, bloggers, and public speakers. So many hats, so little time. Thanks, Tania. Well done.

  • Kim Le Piane

    Love this Tania!

    I am just starting on the process of writing my first book. I can feel a few in me. I so appreciate being guided by a big sister - even if you look younger than me - in the publishing world.

    Thank you,
    Kim

  • Jocelyn Chia

    You've come a long way already. I'm sure your book will be a real hit. All the best!

  • Kindra Hall

    Oh if only I had a nickel for every hour I spent online researching all of the things I need to know. Thanks for posting that website - sites with a lot of information in one place are so helpful. I've also enjoyed http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/ and have found it helpful.

    And ah yes, the life changing voice recorder. Where would we be without it.
    Congrats and thank you!

  • Judith van Praag

    Dear Tania,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience around the publishing of your book.
    Some of the points you make I can second, we must have gone through similar experiences. Number #1 using the same computer and software. I know exactly what you mean. Not only have I relocated physically four times, I've changed hardware and software several times. I've gone from MSDOS operation system, to Mac and from WordPerfect to Claris, to Appleworks, then Word. Now that I'm filling the structure of my book with material over time I find the new Mac can't read any of the old stuff and I find myself having to change all older docs from my iBook to the before latest Word after which I can use it on my new Mac.
    One good thing, I thought it would be only a waste of time, but I'm organizing while I go along, so there's a lot to delete that had doubled up.
    #2 Organizing by date, that's something I would have like to have known sooner. These days I do put the date at the front, but when I look at older docs I've literally got to read what's in them to know which one is the latest. It may seem to be "an open door" something everyone would know, but I always struggled with the organization of different versions so this kind of advice is very sound and helpful for beginning and seasoned writers.
    I can go on and on, but I think you and others get my point, your points are useful.
    The only thing I'd like to suggest is that you give your points numbers. It helps a reader to refer to #1 or #5 and so on.
    Your book has come out already? I thought this blog post was going to be the first of your countdown to publication blog, perhaps you will do a follow up?
    Wishing you lots of success with your book, all my best, Judith

  • Debby Carroll

    Tania, you've inspired me to go back and edit yet again. And, you've shared some other incredibly smart tips, too. I can tell from this blog post just how much work you've done. I hope you sell a million and I'll be looking for Shego. Thanks.

  • Lisa Rivero

    Tania, you offer some highly practical tips here (I especially need to work on Talking Points). Congratulations, and thanks for sharing a part of your journey!