Today I was on Utah's Fresh Living show. I talked about my top five things you need to know for getting published. You can watch it here, and read below about what I said.
How to Get Published | KUTV.com
1. Become a strong presence on social media now: Before you're ready to publish, before you've even written a single page, you should be building your online presence on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Shelfari, Library Thing to name a few. Why? Think about it, when you buy a book, you usually buy from an author you know of, whose name is familiar. So the point of being active on these sites and building a network of followers is twofold: 1. You are a familiar name to readers so they're more likely to buy your book once it's published. 2. You have a network of other authors and bloggers who will help promote your book once it's published because they know you.
2. Find yourself a good critique group of around 3-5 other authors: It's essential that you have a group of authors to critique your work rather than mom, sister, friend. Someone who knows and loves you isn't going to be objective. They're going to love your work. That's okay, sometimes you need a cheerleader. But more importantly you need someone who's objective and who knows what to look for. That way you can genuinely improve your writing and change things that are needed to make your work stronger. Also, critiquing and editing others' work strengthens your writing as well because it helps you recognize places in your own work that can be improved.
3. Make sure you have a well-polished manuscript before sending in to an agent or publisher: What this means is that you've re-read your manuscript multiple times, you've had it read by other authors, and you've had it edited either professionally or by someone who knows what they're doing. It's impossible to entirely edit your own work because you're so intimately familiar with it you won't be able to see flaws or holes, so it's best to have someone else do it. Then, when it's as clean as you can possible make it, you're ready to submit it to either an agent or a publisher. Some publishers require an agent, so be sure your understand all submission policies before submitting it anywhere.
4. Learn everything you can about the publishing industry, and specific publishing venues, and determine if it’s best for you to traditionally publish, or self-publish: The publishing world is not the same as it used to be. It's in constant fluctuation now with the advent of self-publishing and eBooks. There are positives and negatives to both ways of publishing (I know because I've done both) and so you need to research them, talk to a few authors from both sides to get their experiences, and decide which works better for your goals.
5. Learn everything you can about marketing and begin implementing some of the ideas now: Writing the book is the fun part. The real work comes with marketing, which is absolutely necessary if you want a single person outside your family to read your book. Whether you traditionally publish or self-publish, you're your own marketer. No one else is going to do it for you. So if you prepare now and have an idea of what you'll need to do when the time comes, you can start building a basis for it now to make it easier then.