Monday, October 5, 2009

Ten Survival Tips for the Unpublished

First off, for those of you who followed last week's camp saga and who may be curious, I had a pretty good time camping. It was surprisingly not as hard as I thought it would be, and the girls loved it. What can I say? Their enthusiasm rubbed off on me :) I'm not saying I'm a "camper" officially, (I will forever LOVE the mom who brought us Starbucks early Saturday morning), but I can do the Camporee thing once a year and even look forward to it. I will definitely bring a tube of chapstick next time, though. My lips feel like they're made of beef jerky. They're past the burny stage when they hurt, but I'm not loving the rawhide look. I feel bad for my husband. I'm insisting on my usual amount of kisses and he is pretty yucked out by the feel of these babies.

Secondly, I won a contest!! Mary at The Literary Girls let me know that I'm getting a copy of The Maze Runner and I am really excited to read this one. As soon as I do I will have a Book Talk and let you know what I think. Thank you Mary!

Lastly, since Monday is my Publishing Industry day and I have camping on the brain, here is a list of tips for surviving in the wild world of working toward publication (and I need to start following a lot of these myself):

1.     Be prepared. For a long wait. Really, going from unpublished to published author is not gonna be quick.

2.     Pack plenty of food, as in nourishment for your mind. Many of the agents and editor interviews I've read mention reading as the best way to improve your writing, to know what's being done, and to understand the market. 

3.     Bring tools, and I don't mean just a great laptop (although that helps!), I mean the tools we use in our writing like showing instead of telling, great dialogue, action verbs and writing that readers, and agents, won't want to put down. Check out a list of great writer tools HERE.

4.     Find shelter. Where's yours? A comfy recliner? A cozy nook surrounded by shelves of beloved books? Maybe you have a room all to yourself, or maybe you stay up after the kids go to sleep and write in bed, but a writer's corner without distraction is a good way to get going on your book.

5.     Use the buddy system. Maybe it's a critique group or a writing forum, but having support and people to talk to that understand writing help us stay focused on our goals.

6.     Stay on the trails. Do you find yourself writing more about becoming a writer, than writing your actual book? You've wandered off the path! Backtrack and remember that the bulk of your computer "writing" time should be with your characters. Click HERE for a quick post by Upstart Literary Crow on prioritizing.

7.     Be aware of your surroundings. Look around, the internet is full of tips for finding the right agents to query and how to write those query letters. There's advice galore, and some of it is coming right from the source.

8.     Don't forget first-aide. It seems like every writer faces rejection, and it hurts. Whatever helps you get over it, whether it's a bar of chocolate or talking about it with a friend, figure out what helps you get back in the swing of things and don't let rejection get you down.

9.     Wear the right clothing. Online and in your query letters, you wear your words, so make sure you have on things that portray you in your best light. For a post about this, click HERE for Janet Reid's take on Internet Invisibility Cloaks.

10.     Have fun! Hopefully, we all started writing in the first place because it's one of the things we enjoy most in the world. It's easy to forget that when we're stuck in a scene that doesn't flow, or the rejections start to roll in. Have fun, because it's impossible to know if the book we are writing will really be the one that sells or not, so we may as well enjoy the process and be open to learning from it.


  1. Congratulations on surviving camping! You're braver than I am. LOL

  2. Great tips, Diana! I definitely need to keep a few of these in mind.

    Glad you had fun camping!

  3. Hi Mary! Thanks :) I went kicking and screaming but now I'm glad I did!

    Hey MM (Sesquipedalian), I need to take my own advice with those tips lol!

    Hi Natalie, thanks :) Now some friends of ours want to take us beach camping next weekend, ha!

  4. It also doesn't hurt to attend literary circles such as other author's book readings and such.

  5. I like that list. Very useful!

  6. Hi Marsha, that's a great point. Hmm... maybe a number eleven, Listen to Campfire Stories :)

    Hey Angie, nice having you over :) I'm glad you liked the list. Hopefully I can follow them!!

  7. Hey Diana - enjoyed your post. I'm definitely someone who doesn't spend enough time writing my actual book. That's why I set my new goals. The Maze Runner is in the mail - hope you enjoy.

  8. Hi Mary, I'm looking forward to The Maze Runner :)

    I like your new goals and your new blog. I also have to watch how much web-surfing/blogging I'm doing. That's one reason why there's no new post today :)