A Novel Update and How to get from Here to Published

It’s been about a month and a half since NaNoWriMo 2015. Some people began to edit and revise instantly after hitting their total word count whether or not they hit the 50,000 mark while in November. Some have not touched their manuscript since that final strike of the keypad signifying victory, and good on those giving themselves a rest, goodness knows so many deserve it. There are others who are staring around unsure what to do now, as if they’ve never put thought into the steps after finishing a novel. So, it’s about time for an update.

I have to say that I’ve never had a NaNoWriMo experience quite like this one, and despite the challenges that arose, I can only hope that in the future, this same experience is repeated each time I sit down to novel writing. There were definitely some incredibly difficult and trying moments, everyone has, but even still, I’ve never had over 65,000 words result in a full length novel that I didn’t want to burn or delete, that I could even say I was a bit proud of, my first draft of my first completed novel….

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I finished my novel originally at 65033 a bit under two weeks after November, or more simply December 12th. The actual plan and “outline” for my novel was constructed the last two weeks or so of October when I officially decided to go for NaNoWriMo 2015. The original idea caught me about two years ago, but it’s become a very different story than the original, and all the stronger for it. I did my first edit and revision within a couple of days and by the 15th I had something worthy of calling a novel. Current word count is 65,626, but I have one more edit and revision before I will feel it’s ready.

Halfway through writing it, the name of this book finally caught up with me: The Foretelling Spark. Given the response I’ve received so far, it seems to be a title gaining some interest, which is definitely great to hear.

So, what now?

That big scary question that arises once you’ve conquered the first mountain on your way to that far off land…of a published novel…Depending on which route you decide to take for publishing your labor of love, the next step is finding the people that will care and giving them a reason to invest their time and energy into your novel.

Three recommendations:

  1. Research– Whether it’s looking up your publishing options, figuring out what shelves your current or future books belong on, or what agents to consider sending queries to, research is a great place to start. Don’t waste yours, and especially not an agent, editor, or publisher’s time by pitching a clear YA Fantasy to a Mystery/Thriller market. You can easily refrain from making this mistake by being thorough in your research of who you plan to send your book to on the road to publishing.
  2. Query– A query is important in regards to finding an agent if you want to go the traditional publishing route, mainly because it’s supposed to get their attention and make them want to invest their time, and eventually their energy, into getting your novel published. I have finally written a passable synopsis, which means querying became that much easier, though I will fully admit to still audibly gulping while trying to form these reader grabbing and sometimes self-trumpeting introductions (don’t ask how many times I’ve rewritten these so far..). There are many articles on query writing, but here is one that I found helpful.
  3. Writing Conferences and Workshops– Another way to further your knowledge, network, and possibly have the chance to pitch to an agent is through attending writing conferences and workshops. I am fortunate enough to be attending a writing workshop that is being held in Atlanta in February of this year (thanks to my generous and supportive mother and stepdad, early Christmas present). It’s the Atlanta Writing Workshop and it is all about getting published; there are multiple workshops as well as opportunities to get 10 minute pitch sessions with agents. I find myself, again, thankful to my mother to have secured such an opportunity (I’m equal parts excited and terrified). I would encourage anyone in the area or able to travel to it to sign up now, or soon! Or find one in your area! The closer it gets the quicker spots disappear, and there is a limit, so it’s best to sign up early. If you click here  and scroll down a bit, you will see a list of some other writing conferences in 2016.

Of course, if you are self-publishing, you do not really need an agent. For now, however, this is my chosen path, but there are definitely other options out there if you are so inclined.

I’m nervous and excited about what happens from here, how about you? How are you doing with your NaNoWriMo 2015 project?


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