Most authors I've met understand this, and therefore have a very generous, pay-it-forward, give-it-back kind of attitude. Writers who find success--even small amounts of success--tend to give back in many ways, from writing articles online that might be helpful to new writers to teaching classes to attending conferences and sitting on panels to creating podcasts and holding workshops and more. The writing retreat I went to a few weeks ago was a form of this: a great author and an awesome guy decided to open up his home to a few fellow authors, some of them (ok, mainly one of them--me) being rather green, but he had the resources and was willing to do it, and that's pretty cool I know it was something for which I was grateful.
Of course, there are other motives for doing these things than simply helping fellow authors. Like most things we do as human beings, a host of different stimuli drive us to any given action; a lot of the aforementioned things help the writers hosting them them to gain some publicity, network more, etc. While that's certainly a perk, from what I've seen and heard from most writers I know, that sort of benefit is mostly a happy accident. Because everyone, more or less, has to go through the same gauntlet (or a gauntlet of one kind or another)--every author I know got to where they are because other authors before them paved the way, gave them advice, taught them a class, introduced them to an agent, or something. So paying it forward seems to be the thing to do, and I guess that's pretty cool.
This leads me to two things: (1) I chose a great business to participate in, so, pat on the back for me! and (2) I suppose it's never too early to start this paying-it-forward stuff, so I think I'll begin my first attempt now.
Basically, I'd like to start a new series on this blog that talks about how I got published. Something I searched for often but rarely found were stories of authors getting published, what exactly they did, how things worked, etc. There is a lot of advice out there, don't get me wrong, but there's not a lot of, I don't know, just people sort of straight-up talking about their experience.
I'd like to do that.
I mean, I'm not going to go into any excruciating detail or anything, or talk specifics about people I interacted with (especially not anyone with whom it went or ended badly). But I do just want to share how the process worked for me--what I did wrong, what I did right, what did and did not help, and so forth. I know I would've liked to read something like that when I was researching the industry, so hopefully this can be helpful to some of those up-and-coming types that might stumble across my blog.
So, without further ado, I present to you my blog series "How I Got Published." I'm planning to put up a new post on this every Tuesday (because hey, at least it'll motivate me to blog more if nothing else), roughly following but certainly not limited to this outline:
- Writing a Novel
- Finishing a Novel
- Revising a Novel
- Writing Groups and Alpha/Beta Readers
- A Ready (not finished!) Manuscript
- Conventions and Conferences
- Networking (or: being nice)
- Getting an Agent
- Writing While You Wait
- Finding a Publisher
- More Waiting
- More Writing (and Revising) While You Wait
- Getting Published
I'll be honest, I'm excited to explore this series. My experience has been typical in many ways and less typical in many more, and I'm interested to see how that all comes out in writing. I'm happy to share my experience, and hope that it, in some way, does help some of you aspiring writers out there. And, once you get your break, hopefully you can do the same.