Friday, July 22, 2016

Best of the Archives: Publishing Road Trip

This post first appeared in Seekerville on May 23, 2012. Comments are closed today so we can reach our reading and writing goals!

Seekerville's motto is all about writing as a journey, because it is a journey and often we forget about what fun a Road Trip really is when you prepare.

In order to reach your goal, you must have a map. You know what they say. Fail to Plan and Plan to Fail. It's true. Come on. When was the last time you got in a car for a road trip without checking the oil, the tires, gassing up and buying a map?

 (Oh, my, this reminds me of the Ruthy, Tina road trip. After several intense therapy sessions, I can now get into automobiles without crying. )


You are here but where do you want to be? What's your goal for this month, this year? Where do you want to be in five years? (Kansas is not an appropriate answer.)

Keep all your mementos from the trip. 

Every rejection should be lovingly saved in a folder because it proves you had the guts to submit. It proves You Are A Writer.  I have a thick folder of rejections to my credit. I'm proud of them. Because they prove I never gave up. (It could prove other things, but I like to be eternally optimistic.) 

What about you?

Every single contest certificate, be it Honorable Mention or First Place should be hanging in your writing space to as a souvenir of this part of the trip. As an Unpublished author,  I've got 66 contest placements to my creditI also have 92 that I didn't place in. So you bet I cherish those I won or finaled in.  

What about you?

You should be tracking every submission to an editor, and/ or agent, every contest entry on some sort of spreadsheet. Track the response as well. Voo-doo dolls don't count nor should they be included in in your spreadsheet, though I applaud your creativity. Tracking not only keep things organized but it's your graph of your publishing road trip.

How To Deal With Road Closures:

Road closures come in many forms.

  • Your editor leaves the line.
  • The lines close.
  • You're rejected by the agent of your dreams.
  •  You don't sell the book you've been polishing for 3 years to the publisher you wrote it for.
  • The publisher finds out you are coming to town and moves to another location, and so on and so on.

 Always have a detour plan.  Seekers have made first sales thanks to our very own Plan B. 

What's your plan B?

 Remember, you are camping outside the Promised Land. You can just sit there in your little VW Camper forever staring at the fence with a silly expression of longing on your face, or you can rev the engine and go in and take the land!

Sometimes you have to be brave and veer off your map to try new and scary routes. Go outside the lines and try a road you've never done before. No guts, no glory!

Final Lessons for the Road

1. Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug. (It doesn't get any simpler than that, dude.)

2. Don't drive in circles. Ask directions. (Be brave, ask someone to read your pages, enter a contest or stalk a Seeker -preferably Mary or Ruthy.)

3.  Always be prepared. (Have a query, a partial, a full ready for that impromptu opportunity or contest. I keep chocolate in my bag for bribes and am not ashamed to say I have used it at editor appointments at conferences.)

4.  Road kill will haunt you, slow down and don't run anyone over. (Make friends and play nice, everyone is a potential book reviewer.)

5. Don't keep driving from Point A to Point B and wondering why the scenery is always the same.  (Stop revising the same manuscript over and over. Start something new. Do this over and over again until you have a stack of them.)

6. When the road ahead looks dark and scary and impossible, KEEP DRIVING. You'll only get to your destination if you keep driving. 

7. It's always good to have a copilot. (besides God). Someone to hold the map and remind you to turn right, or to slow down in Kansas. A copilot is an accountability buddy.

8. Everyone's map is different. Don't try to find success on someone else's map. I wrote down all the possible ways to reach goals on the publishing journey and came up with over twenty...and yet there are still more roads that I don't even know about.

9. The road to publication is long, full of bumps, potholes, traffic tickets and it never ends. The good news is, the further you get on the journey the more you learn to enjoy bugs in your teeth and you make a lot of friends on the road.

10. Savor the journey. Keep a journal or a scrapbook and enjoy every single step of the way.

Okay, get your sunglasses, your beverage and a snack of choice. Get in the car and let's get this trip going. (I'm easy going but please, seatbelts at all times, no back seat drivers, absolutely no feet out the window and please keep your wrappers in a trash receptacle!)

This post comes to you from Seeker Tina Radcliffe who lives in a cave in the Arizona and spends a lot of time dieting so she can fit into her crime-fighting outfit.  

And don't forget, only a short time longer to get these romantic holiday novellas on sale!

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