NaNoWriMo #3: Now What?

Did you make it? Did you finish your novel? 

Welcome back to my last NaNoWriMo post. I hope you enjoyed the small break we took to celebrate that little holiday called Thanksgiving. Hopefully, you finished your manuscript last month (or yesterday – whatever) and have let it rest a little while watching the 95 holiday football games on TV. So your book is done. Whoohoo! What next? 

Well, now you get to/ have to sell it. And yourself. Once you get your precious baby manuscript edited to where you think it’s the best it can be, you need to pitch it. But do you send it out to publishers? Are you gonna get an agent? WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

In order to stave off panic, I present the Top Five Books that Will Tell You What to Do Next in Order to Get Your Book Read by Important People and Maybe Even Published:

5. Guide to Literary Agents/ Writer’s Market/ Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents/ Literary Marketplace

These books are all excellent places to start your search. The bad news is that they are resources that don’t leave the library. We’d love for you to come down and utilize them – they are found in the Reference Stacks by the Nonfiction desk on the third floor of the Main Library, but you can’t check them out and take them home with you. You might be able to find an older version, say 2016, in the stacks that you can check out, but the newer the information the better. Don’t miss out because these take some work – they really are worth it.

4. Maybe this only connected in my head because I am a musician, but this book was awesome at teaching how to navigate through the mine fields of social media. Yes, it's tailored to the more musicially-inclined, but I found all the lessons to be easily adaptable. The sad reality is that unless you are Stephen King or J. K. Rowling, the promotional budget for your book from a publisher is going to be very small. This means you are going to need to build your cyber footprint yourself - which can be intimidating and time-consuming if not done correctly. Mr. Owsinski has written 18 books about the music industry that helped to set the standard for business practices. If you are not already a master of Twitter/Pinterest/Facebook/Instagram/Snapchap or don't have a 15 year old who will do it for you, check this one out.

3. If you plan on getting an agent, you need to learn how to write a query letter because nobody wants to read your entire manuscript before they sample your writing (except maybe your mom…but she’s special). Wendy takes you through the different kinds of query letters you might need to know. Query letters are hard because you have to sum up your entire book and your complete history AND make it interesting in one page or less. Ready. Go. Wendy offers some great tips and some successful examples of how to do just that.

2. This book was really good. McGowan worked on A Current Affair (remember that one?) and now he runs his own consulting firm to help people in public speaking situations. He has seven basic principles that he uses to help coach his clients. Part of being an author is selling yourself, and your book, to the masses, and this book would definitely be beneficial to anyone who might struggle in this area. Its scope is pretty broad – the book doesn’t just talk about authors, but that’s why I liked it. A more general overview gives us the best chance for the most exposure. Definitely read this one before you start pitching.

1. Full disclosure: I attended a one-day seminar with Mr. Sambuchino last summer and I think my fellow attendees would agree with my assessment that he is the Simon Cowell of the literary world (one of many, I’m sure). He is opinionated and honest with his advice, but he’s also right. He’s worked as an agent and he’s a writer, so he gets how the system works. He cuts through all the pleasantries and gooey niceness to get down to business. I, for one, appreciated that about him. (If I want niceness, I’ll ask my grandma. She loves everything I do.) Even if you are pitching to publishers, this book will help you develop a realistic plan to get your work read. We only have it on Overdrive (or you can get it through ILL like I did), but don’t skip this one. Trust me.

Ok guys, those are my lists. To recap: List #1: Top Five Favorite Writing Books by Famous Writing People , List #2: Top Five Books on How to Write Good. I hope you had a great NaNoWriMo this year. If anyone does manage to write and publish their novel due to the advice and wisdom shared here, a small mention in the acknowledgements or a book dedication would not be out of order. Just saying.

If you keep writing, I’ll keep reading… :) Amanda

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