Pros Grow Where Prose Flows: Writer, Editor, Agent, Publisher, Reader

A-daydreamer-is-a-writerWhen I first prepared Beneath a Sunless Sky for publication, I honestly thought that I was owed a living at this. I had been a voracious reader all of my life. I had sweat out books before. They weren’t as innovative as The Dome Trilogy. They weren’t as edgy. They didn’t scrape at my very soul when I created them.

The Dome Trilogy books are good. They’re damned good. I’m even going to be bold enough here and now to say, “I am one of the great undiscovered science fiction authors of the twenty-first century.”

I jumped in with both feet, and I’m stuck in a mud puddle.

I’m not alone. Great writers are being lost in the noise; bad writers are getting visibility because they’re extraordinary at self-marketing. They get readers who doubt that great novels are out there. Eschewing the classic publishing routes was a risk I question today. Taking a decade to publish the series was a risk I question today. However, hindsight is 20/20 according to anyone who knows that colloquial cliché. I can look back all I want at the independent publishing landscape and know that I did my best.

I also know that the fight’s not over. I have only begun the writer’s journey. I have much to learn from the entire industry. I need a plan of action and of self-education. I learned to write well. Good for me. Now, I need to learn how to be a writer.

Writer and editor Michelle Mueller has a weblog: Words and Wanderings. It’s worth the read, so I won’t be upset if you wander off to read her web journal and abandon mine. On Words and Wanderings are agenda posts, Michelle’s weekly plans. I’ve not quite the togetherness to set up a weekly to-do list today. Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I’m the chief bottle washer and cook for this feast day.

Life is back to a level of chaos which is leaving me sitting in the literary mud at this point. Since I’m covered in mud, I can leave my shoes behind and extricate myself however possible.

I must again educate myself.

Self-Education Goals for 2015

  • I need to learn the proper way to query literary literary agents. Whether or not one uses a literary agent, this knowledge is necessary for all writers looking to publish.
  • I need to learn more about the art of editing and editors. Whether or not one uses an independent editor, this knowledge is also necessary for all writers looking to publish.
  • I need to learn more about the art of social media from publishing houses. Whether or not one uses a publication house, this knowledge is again necessary for all writers looking to publish.
  • I need to learn the demographics of my genre’s readership is and where to consistently find my readers. I need to know how they read, when they read, where they read, what they use to read, and why they choose their books. Then, I need to engage with, not broadcast to, those people.
  • I need to commune with other writers and listen to their experiences fully. Nothing they have learned should go ignored. They all contribute collectively to a comprehensive “How to Be A Writer” guide.

Due by November 30, 2014

  • Transcribe ‘Til Undeath Do Us Part (Book One of the Cryptid Series) and prepare for its dissemination onto multiple digital formats. Working and aesthetic Kindle and iPad reader editions are my priorities.

Due by December 31, 2014

  • Send copies of ‘Til Undeath Do Us Part (Book One of the Cryptid Series) out to my test readers in early December.
  • Hand write His Brother’s Keeper (Book Two of the Cryptid Series) after ‘Til Undeath Do Us Part (Book One of the Cryptid Series) is disseminated to test readers.
  • Transcribe His Brother’s Keeper (Book Two of the Cryptid Series) onto pink pages on that pink typewriter.
  • Prepare a back blurb, excerpt, and aesthetic Tweets for ‘Til Undeath Do Us Part (Book One of the Cryptid Series).

More and more, I am considering preparing ‘Til Undeath Do Us Part (Book One of the Cryptid Series) as a signed paperback (or possibly hardbound edition) for special internet-based giveaways. I am also considering adding a Facebook page. I am definitely bringing The Cryptid Series to Goodreads and will be bringing up my presence there.

It’s a loose agenda, and the library is open, now. I have to return my copy of Bill Nye’s new book. Someone has a hold on it and wants to read it, too. May that be said some day of my books, that a queue of readers at a library are waiting on my newest release.

Being a writer isn’t about daydreaming on paper for me any longer. Whether I succeed or fail, I want to look at my mirror reflection in ten years and say, “You actually did your best, Jess. Good work.”


One thought on “Pros Grow Where Prose Flows: Writer, Editor, Agent, Publisher, Reader”

  1. Thanks again for mentioning me in your post!

    I’m terrible at keeping up with agendas. I’m one of those people that likes organizing the chaos in my head, somehow, so it’s been a long battle for me to even use a planner. But my Monday agenda (which unfortunately has been sitting there untouched for probably close to two months now) does help to hold me accountable.

    I definitely agree with you: many, many great writers are lost to the noise. It’s a tough market, and I admire self-published authors for throwing themselves right in the middle of it. Self-education, as you point out, is essential. And since the market is always changing, it’s important to stay on top of it. Your goals remind me that I need to get back to it, too.

    You can do it.


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