12 Easy Steps to Book Publication

LBMC Cover

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.

Living Beyond My Circumstances, former Paralympian Deborah L. Willows’ memoir is now available.


9 thoughts on “12 Easy Steps to Book Publication

  1. Cheering for you both, Stephanie, and looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for reminding us that writing involves a lot of rewriting and a lot of ongoing learning. Knowing that’s a natural part of it can encourage those still in the Step 3 phase.

  2. I don’t make New Year resolutions, but just this last weekend I decided to get serious about writing a novel/novelette/short story to actually try to get published. I like your instruction and intend to follow them.

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