Guest Post By Diana Rose For ART OF STORIES BLOG ( http://art-of-stories.com/blog/ )
How to Write a Book and Publish It
By Diana Rose
I am from New York City, I have not yet been published yet but I am part of Across Genres Publishing House. I write Young Adult Fantasy Romance Novels for teens. In my books, I focus on writing about how to find true love. I am contracted with Across Genres Publishing House. I have a Facebook Author Page that can be visited at: https://www.facebook.com/DianaRoseRomance as well as a blog that you can also visit at: https://themagicoftruelove.wordpress.com.
When I first started writing my first book, Book 1: Forbidden Love, I had no idea how to do it. I remembered one thing from my school days, “Write what you know,” my teachers would say. So I wrote what I knew. I liked reading about princesses and princes and fantasy characters so I incorporated into my writing as well.
My first book, Book 1: Forbidden Love is about a princess from the Moon Kingdom who meets a prince from the Earth Kingdom and her parents are opposed to their bond. Her parents attempt to separate them but no matter how many times they got separated they always found a way to overcome their obstacles and be together. My target audience is teenagers. Right now, my book is being edited and I started to do my first round of edits. I don’t want to lie to you all and say I have a date because I’m not even sure yet when it will get published.
How did I get my contract with Across Genres Publishing House? That’s actually a really funny story. I will share it with you. I was looking for an agency to publish my first book and I found an agency that wanted my book and I got signed but then, the agency I was signed with closed down unexpectedly. The authors who were writing for the agency including myself were devastated. But, we all decided not to give up on our writing dreams. So, somewhere within that time, one of the authors told me that she was opening a publishing agency with a friend of hers and they needed authors. I asked her if they published YA Fantasy Romance novels and she said that I have to talk to her partner and friend. So, I called the number she gave me and spoke to Tammy Jernigan. Mrs. Jernigan said that they will publish my genre. She asked me if my book was part of a series and of course I said it was. Mrs. Jernigan said she is prepared to publish my entire series. I was amazed and happy. Can you imagine that my entire series is contracted? Amazing!! Across Genres Publishing house publishes all genres of work.
At first Book 1: Forbidden Love was just something that I was working on for myself but then as I continued to write it, I began to think about publication. So I started to research writing and publication in general. As I researched and continued to write, I realized that publication is not going to be easy. However, I knew one thing. I knew that everything that is worth it is never easy. It may seem impossible when you first begin to walk the road to getting published but publication is not as impossible as you may think at first. Starting something is always hard and uncertain and to be honest with everyone who is reading this, I was uncertain if I could do it when I first started.
I started my publishing research from the last place you would think of….I started my research at Kingsborough Community College where I was enrolled as a student. I knew a few of my professors who included Hope A. Parisi, Dianne Bennett, who had published books, textbooks but I didn’t care much for the type of book they published as long as they published. So, I wrote up a list of questions about how they got published and made appointments to see them. One of my professors, William R. Burger, the Chairman of the Behavioral Sciences Department who wrote the books, Human Services in Contemporary America which he co- authored with Merrill Youkeles in 1999. He also published a book called The Helping Professions: A Career Sourcebook. Dr. Burger was kind enough to find time in his busy schedule to answer my questions.
I remember that when I asked him how he found a publisher for his two books, he said, “I don’t find publishing agencies, publishers come to me.” That statement surprised me. Of course Dr. Burger explained that he writes textbooks and textbooks are in high demand. I remember he said that he can’t supply more information but he had a person that could help me. He said her name was Susan Ednie. So at the end of our conversation he told me to wait while she would come. She was happy to hear about my book and wanted to see my work. She helped me a lot. When I did my research, I learned that publishing a book has steps to it and good writing is made from rewrites and that every author found his or own way into the publishing world which meant I had to find my own way in. Yes, I do apply what learned. I have done so many edits I lost count. And even today as I edit my work for it to be published, I know I have learned a lot and I still have a lot to learn. For example, I learned that literary agents are very picky but you don’t necessarily need them.
My writing was not ready then to be out in the world when the idea came to me. Let me explain what I mean. When I began to write, my writing was broken up into chunks of ideas, each paragraph was a separate idea and those separate ideas were not connected in any way. That is why I felt that it was not ready. But I was not giving up on this idea because I felt that it could be great. So I started to edit my novel with the help of Professor Susan Ednie at Kingsborough Community College, of course, she asked me in the process of editing what I wanted to do with my book. I said, “I want to publish it.” She smiled at me and after that we spent two hours in her office every month going over comments and she helped me add chapters to the book by discussing ideas with me.
I always wanted to be known for something great. I could always be proud of doing something as great as getting published. I realized early that getting noticed for your talent in writing is a lot of hard work and that is even harder than publication. You see, in order to get published you need to get noticed by the right people and acknowledged for your style and your talent. It took me a really long time to just get noticed. It took three years to get noticed by a publishing agency, two of which were spent on looking for literary agents which I might say that was a pointless thing in my specific case because no one was interested. When I realized that agents were not going to help me find an agency to publish my book I started to send out to publishing agencies that took authors without agents.
At first, it was Professor Susan Ednie who took notice and decided to help me with preparing my book to be sent out to agents and publishers. She thought it was a great idea what I was writing about. Then when I started sending out to publishing agencies, the first agency that took notice was Cool Beans Publishing and Editing and I thought that the contract they offered would last but shortly after that the company closed and I found Across Genres Publishing house who is now editing my work.
Of course, like many of you who are reading this post, I am human and I did feel like I was going through an endless tunnel where I was walking so slowly that I felt like I was not doing enough or doing something that was not exactly leading me to the result I wanted. It felt like I was doing something small that was moving but very slowly. I knew that I would be taking it slow and I needed to finally open up to people and yes, I was scared. I was terrified. But when I created my author page, I felt that I could finally show people who I am. I am happy I took that step to go public because if I had not done it, I would never have been noticed and would not have created a steady readership that is important for starting out authors to build their author lives and get their message to the world. I encourage all starting out authors to create and maintain their own author page so that when you do get noticed and published people will already know who you are.
Here, we come to the most important ingredient to the formula for publication which I have discovered over time…. The most important ingredient is to want publication so bad that you would do anything to get published. Persistence and patience in this work is key. If you persist against all odds and be patient that all your hard work will pay off, you will succeed. For the people reading this, you may be thinking, “Oh, it’s easy for you to say, ‘persistence and patience is key.’ But did you ever think of giving up like us?”
My answer to that is, finding strength in yourself to continue on with something that might seem hopeless is hard. I did feel like I was going through a tunnel but what kept me going was that my family supported me and my friends all believed I could do it. But the biggest thing that kept me going was my dream to get published, to see my name in lights. Then, as I opened up to my grandmother about my writing, she was really supportive. I wanted to fulfill my dream because I knew that she wanted it for me as much I did. I always had a strong will to get my book published. How I stayed strong? That’s a good question. I always believed that my book would get published and that belief was stronger than anything. Yes, every time I failed, I cried. I was heartbroken that my dream would not come true but the strong belief that I would ultimately make my publication dream come true overpowered me. I am very stubborn and that stubbornness helped me to not give up when times were rough and any other person would have given up. Also, I knew that giving up was never a thing I would do. I love the characters I write about and I know that once my book gets published my readers will love my characters too.
Of course, wanting to get published is great but I want to encourage you to take action because without action there would never be anything. Action….Let me define that for you. Taking action means that you don’t sit back and wait for something to happen. Yes, I agree that when an author just starts out wanting to get published they may not know what the right thing to do is.
As all of us know, after you write your first draft you need to edit and proofread it. Now, edits and proofreading is the next step after writing. Edits take a very long time to do because you want your writing to be perfect before you publish it. There are services that are offered to edit your work but I advise you to try to find someone to edit your work for free because you would want to save that money for when you get closer to publication.
My techniques for editing……First, I would say that if I learned anything about editing it is that you cannot rush yourself with them. Do not focus on the entire book as a whole when you try to edit. I edited chapter by chapter. I went over each chapter as many times as needed. Only when I was sure that the chapter was completely edited and had no errors, I went to the next. I usually take a pen with colored ink and when I have the text printed I go over it reading through as I look for errors. If I am on the computer I usually use Track Changes in Microsoft Word to outline my errors and look for edits. The key with edits is to go slow paragraph by paragraph and line by line so you don’t miss anything. Proofreading for errors is a very important because you want to make sure your grammar is perfect.
Of course, I never went to an editing service because my professor at Kingsborough Community College agreed to help me edit my work. Professor Susan Ednie was very helpful and encouraging. She taught me a lot about writing and how to express myself better. She helped me add a few more chapters to my book as we were going through edits. Professor Ednie fell in love with my characters and she had a lot of great ideas. My experience with editing my book which started in Kingsborough was an extraordinary time that I would never trade for anything. Professor Ednie and I have become great friends over the time of my editing with her. Editing has taught me to be a better writer and I feel that my writing has grown from being school age writing to serious writing over that time.
I was surprised that a person can learn so much from editing. I also thought that editing would be this boring act that you would have to do. But it was fun for me to find new ways to write what I meant and discuss my ideas with someone who was so encouraging and helpful. Now, as begin editing with Across Genres Publishing House, I feel that I am growing even more as I do my edits and I feel that editing is the true development of myself as a person and my writing. I am becoming a better writer and that is what I feel is most important. What I expected when I first started was just a simple edit and I did not expect to make such a good friend. I did not know that I would begin to love edits as much as I love writing. But I love to see my writing develop into something great and the more I edit, the more I grow as person and as an author. The result of my first edits made me happy. It made me happy to see how my writing, my characters, and I have grown and matured.
After edits are done, I would suggest for you to find an agent for your work. But as I personally, have struggled with this task, I believe that literary agents are good to have but it is not a requirement for all writers. I have been searching for a literary agent for two years. However, I did not find an agent to represent me. I changed my approach somewhere within the second year and luckily I found Across Genres Publishing House who took me without an agent.
In the two years of searching for a literary agent, I went through the entire book called; Writer’s Marketplace and copied out pages of agencies that were searching for my genre. I tried writing a great query letter, synopsis and formatting my manuscript in compliance to the requirements of each agency but no matter how many agents I contacted everyone said the same thing. “Your writing is great but it is not right for us.” So after a search that did not give me what I wanted, I gave up. I gave up on agents and tried something different and it turned out that there were more chances of publishing than an agent could have offered. If I had not stopped looking for an agent I would not be signed with Across Genres Publishing House right now. I learned that having an agent is not easy and not always necessary for success. I realized then that I had to rely on myself to get myself noticed and it was up to me to find a home for my book. I just needed to find my own way into this. So almost a year ago, I created my Author Page. Then, I remodeled my old unused blog and started to go public.
All you need to do is find one person who will love your book as much as you love your story. I know it can seem hard to find an agency that will take your book but I believe that it is possible.
I have gone through this exact process and at times I thought it was going nowhere like many of you out there may be thinking to yourself right now. However, I am here to tell you that as a person who went through this process and came out on top, everything is possible if you believe in your writing and you don’t give up when times get tough. I’m here to tell you that getting published is a hard journey but if I can do it then you can to. The important thing is to remember that no matter what anyone says, you are a writer and you can and will get your work published. Keep writing. Do not give up on your books, they have a message that people need to hear.
Being accepted by a publisher made me feel like child again who got the toy she always wanted but couldn’t get. I felt like a girl who got to be princess for a day and wear a crown. I felt like flying, and hugging everyone. I was at home because it was a Friday and I don’t have class on Fridays. It was about four pm. And I was calling Mrs. Tammy Jernigan to talk about my book. When she said, “Yes, we take YA Fantasy Romance. In fact, YA is a big market.” I was happy. But what made me even happier, even thrilled, was when she said, “Send me your manuscript. Since you have a series we will publish your entire series. I will send you a contract.” I don’t remember what happened then because my emotions took over and I was thanking her so much that she felt uncomfortable. That weekend I signed the contract with Across Genres Publishing House.
How did it feel? It felt like I was finally achieving my dream. It felt like the thing I worked so hard for and no matter how many disappointments and failures I had along the way, I did it!! I felt like I was on top of the world. My mind was not thinking, I was feeling. I was dizzy, I was happy. I was scared. I was so many things. What would happen now? I thought. It was my first time getting accepted by a publisher. A publisher who want to publish my entire series!! My book had a home now. Every book in my Power of Love Series has a home, a home with Across Genres Publishing House.
Right after I got accepted into Across Genres Publishing House, I decided that it was time to announce it to everyone that I was accepted. So, I posted a life event post on my Author Page and added Across Genres Publishing House und affiliations. Also I decided to start finishing my second book in my series so that I could have it ready for submission. When I found out that I was accepted and even before I signed the contract with Across Genres Publishing House I told my mother about it. She was speechless at first but then after I signed the contract, my mom said, “We have to celebrate this.” And we did. We went to the Beach and had dinner at a restaurant. I told my friends and they were all impressed and happy for me.
Right now, I am working on the ending to Book 2 as well as editing Book 1: Forbidden Love for publication.