Get Ready to Publish Your Book: 5 Things to Do RIGHT NOW
by Dana Sitar
Want to publish a book some day? It’s a long road and a daunting task, whether you go with traditional or self-publishing, but you can get started right now on the path, even if you don’t have an idea ready yet. Here are some habits you can work into your routine to prepare, plus some actions you can take today, as soon you’re done reading this, to take the first steps in your publishing journey.
Write everything, and write all the time. Start a journal, follow prompts, try Friday Flash, start a blog, write stories, scripts, news articles. Get all the words in your head onto paper, and see what you can make, what you love to create, and what you hate. Figure out the elements that make your writing special and why, and what you could create from that.
What you can do TODAY: Sign up for 750 words.com, and write whatever comes to mind. (Do it again tomorrow.)
2. Read.Read everything: romance, comedy, mysteries, YA, chick lit, horror, suspense, fantasy, sci-fi. Why do you love what you love? Know what it’s like to be a reader. See what others are doing and how you might fit into that — are you completely different? Is there an existing genre or niche that’s perfect for you? Do you connect especially well with stories and writers in a certain facet of the industry.
What you can do TODAY: Explore the top free books in the Kindle store, and grab something from a new author.
3. Brainstorm.Never stop thinking or scheming! Does a character reveal herself to you while you’re walking to work one day? Write down her characteristics and her background. Does a scene at the city center strike you as particularly magical one night? Make notes. Do blog post ideas flood your head every afternoon, even though they don’t fit the theme of your blog? Write them down! All these ideas could come in handy throughout your career, and forming the habit of capturing them will help when you’re facing deadlines to finish manuscripts.
What you can do TODAY: Quick brainstorming exercise: Come up with 10 headlines for blog posts or 10 titles for short stories on the prompt, “What is the saddest thing you heard today?”
4. Start building your platform.
Yes, you read right! Do that right this second. Connect with other writers you can learn from and with readers who might one day read your books. You need to do this before that book even enters your mind. But how do you start building a platform around an idea you don’t have yet? Just start connecting. Shake hands and kiss babies indiscriminately for now. Your connections will be much more genuine if you make them simply as a budding writer, and not as a person with something to sell.
What you can do TODAY: Read and take action on this post from Jonathan Gunson with 3 fresh ways to find readers on Twitter.
5. Study your craft.
Too many hopeful writers neglect the importance of the basics. You’ve heard it, and I’ll say it again: You have to know the rules before you can break them. Study grammar, story structure, character development, etc., so you know what you’re doing when you’re ready to write a book. You don’t have to spend a ton of money or earn a Creative Writing degree to get this information. As a bonafide Grammar Geek, I can say there are plenty of educational and entertaining ways to get a few quick and dirty writing tips. Start with the ones listed below.
What you can do TODAY: Download Elements of Style by Strunk & White free from Project Gutenberg, and check out Lynne Truss’s 2006 Bestseller Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.
You can do all of this in about two hours today — and again tomorrow, and the next day. These simple steps will have you wonderfully set up when you’re ready to write that book, so you won’t feel the overwhelming panic many of us face when we realize just how much work is going to go into this endeavor. Do these every day until November (that’s 304 days of learning, practicing, and scheming!), join NaNoWriMo this year, and you just might cross “Publish a novel” off your bucket list in 2013!
Looking for more tips and tasks to get you started on your writing journey? My latest ebook, A Writer’s Bucket List, is 99 things to do for inspiration, education, and experience before your writing kicks the bucket! Learn more at writersbucketlist.com.
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