Step 1 – Make Friends
Who knows? Maybe one day one of those friends will introduce you to a remarkable woman who is looking for someone to help write her story.
Step 2 – Gather Information
Sometimes that information comes as recorded messages on cassette tapes (though that’s becoming less and less likely).
Spending time visiting, going through photo albums, and meeting your co-author’s family can be a big help.
Step 3 – Write a First Draft
There is a possibility that this draft could only be marketed as a sleeping aid. But that’s okay because this is only Step 3.
Step 4 – Develop Your Writing Skills
You’d think this should be Step 1 and granted, it’s good to have a certain level of skill from the get-go, but there’s always more to learn. Reading. Attending writers’ conferences. Chatting with fellow writers. Networking online and in person. It all helps.
Step 5 – Write Another Draft
And another. And another. And another. Add information. Delete information. Rearrange information. You get the idea.
Step 6 – Be Bold
Approach agents, editors, and publishers. The worst thing they can say is “It’s not right for us.” Keep trying. You never know when things will “click.”
Step 7 – Be Patient
Even when you find a publisher (and trust me, that is definitely cause for celebration), the work and the waiting are not over.
Step 8 – Be Prepared to Re-read Your Manuscript – Often
Just when you think it’s all ready to go, you may have a panic attack. Is this really good enough to send out into the world?
Step 9 – Let Go
At some point you have to say, “It’s done.” And when the publisher agrees, that’s a happy day – surreal, but happy.
Step 10 – Stare at the Publishers “New Products” Page and Wonder if You Need Your Glasses Prescription Changed
Nope, it’s really there. Your name’s on the front cover and everything.
Step 11 – Share the Good News with Friends, Family, and Strangers on the Street
If you ever want to see a second book contract, you need to be an active member of the marketing team. (When possible, creating a buzz even before the book is available is a very good thing.)
Step 12 – Profusely Thank the Amazing Lady Who Allowed You the Privilege of Co-Authoring Her Story
Deb, you’re the best, and I thank God that He caused our paths to cross.