Writing Tips

So You’ve Finished Writing Your Book… Now What?

After months, maybe years, of dedicated hard work, you are finally able to type “The End.” It’s the feeling that you always dreamed it would be. THIS is your masterpiece, THIS is your legacy, THIS is everything you hoped it would be!

Now what?

Let me outline a few general steps that you still need to take before you hold that beautiful hard copy of your book in your hands.

1. Congratulations! Finishing your book, whether its your first or fifty-first, is an amazing accomplishment. Take a moment to revel in your achievement, but don’t get too carried away. Your hard work is far from over.

2. If this is the first draft of your book, keep in mind that you are probably nowhere near publishing it (yet). You need to give your book some distance. Right now, you are in the “infatuation” stage where your book can do no wrong. It might be beautiful, but everybody has their “quirks” and that includes your book. Give yourself at least a week (if not more) to let your giddiness die down (just a smidge). After you have allowed yourself this distance, read through your novel.

  • What can you do during this time of distance? Keep your eyes open for my upcoming post about ways to spend your “Distance.”

3. As you are reading, take on the role of your target audience, someone with no background knowledge of what it took for you to write this book or where you are going. Read without looking at the grammar or spelling, read without allowing yourself to edit. Read ONLY for the sake of answering the BIG questions: Does my book have a completed story arc? Is the journey for my main protagonist clear? Are there any plot holes in my story? Are there any consistency issues? Once, you’ve done this, let’s move on to the next step: Revision.

4. Some call this revision, for me, it’s almost always a REWRITE, especially if I have only ever written the first draft. My stories usually go through five or more drafts before I start “editing.” Anyhow, in this revise/rewrite section, it’s time to address those big questions and make sure that your story flows naturally, has realistic conflicts (minor) that all lead to the major climax with plausible consequences that all lead into a resolution that has an impact on your characters and readers. Simple, right? (That was sarcasm in case you didn’t catch it.)

5. NOW you’ve truly got something to work with! Still, I recommend you don’t send your book out quite yet. Instead, send your finished manuscript to some trusted BETA-readers first. This allows you another set(s) of eyes to view your book for big picture questions before you bare your soul to that agent or publishing house. (Keep a look out for that upcoming post as well: Questions to Ask Your Beta Reader).

6. Once you are satisfied that your book is TRULY ready to send out, you need to ask yourself which route you are going to go. Traditional publishing (typically through an agent) or self-publishing. This article is going to follow the traditional publishing route.

7. Unfortunately, the days when you could query your book directly to major publishing houses is pretty much long gone, you’ll need an agent now to speak on your behalf. Although agents get a bad rap, they really are there to help the author. So, you’ll need to find an agent and here are few suggested places you can look:

  • Publisher’s Marketplace & Query Tracker typically appear in most articles about finding an agent (although it does cost to get all of the benefits of these sites). Of the two, I have found Publisher’s Marketplace to be more user-friendly and filled with great information!
  • Literary Rambles has some excellent interviews with agents, what they’re looking for, and how to submit! I love that I can “hear” from so many agents about what they are personally looking for.

8. Finding an agent that meshes well with your vision will take some time, but it will increase your chances at getting an acceptance instead of a rejection. Once you have found the agents you like (yes, agents, multiple), you will need to write the author bio, query letter, and synopsis for you and your book (multiple future blog posts coming up!)

9. When you send out your queries, PLEASE make sure to pay special attention to the particular directions each of your agents might have. If they are asking for something in particular and you ignore their request, why should they not ignore you? Respect goes both ways, so pay attention to what they are looking for!

10. Accept rejection. I’ll be honest. It’s going to happen. Not maybe, not possibly, but most definitely, and it doesn’t always mean there is something wrong with you or your book. It might mean that you need to adjust your query itself. Or it could be the wrong agent. I know it is unbelievably hard to get a “no,” or even worse that dreaded silence in which you don’t even feel worthy of a rejection, but hang in there. Go back to steps 7 & 8. Find new agents, review your query itself, and try again.

11. Don’t give up hope. It probably won’t happen on the first try, or the second, or the third, but it will never happen at all if you give up. Hang in there, I look forward to seeing YOUR book on my shelf!

Do you have any questions about this process post-manuscript completion? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor2022

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Highlighting Rejection Day 5: YOU

Can we all just be honest and authentic for a couple of minutes?

I am encouraging ALL of you to be willing to be vulnerable in the comment section.

Anyone who is serious about writing has most likely received some sort of rejection in their lives. Maybe it was not an official rejection letter, maybe it was some peer review (from family or friends) that did not go as you expected.

Writing is hard, and rejection/criticism makes it harder. But I think the thing that is so detrimental about rejection is when we think that we are alone in our rejection. We think, “This is a personal reflection on ME.”

I am hoping to combat this idea and the isolation that can be a result of rejection by encouraging you to comment below your own experiences with rejection. As a writing community, let us come together to share our own struggles.

So, if you are up for it, in the comment section please answer:

Have you ever experienced rejection for your writing? If so, was the rejection kind or harsh? And more importantly, how did you respond/handle the rejection? What advice would you give to someone who just received their 1st, 2nd, 3rd rejection letter?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Highlighting “Rejection” Day 1: KaylaAnn

Hello there friends!

What an amazing weekend! As many of you are aware, I recently published my first book, Agency in the Hunger Games and celebrated that publication last weekend with the Launch Party. However, I personally, am not always inspired or encouraged when every one else around me succeeds. For the hope of encouraging the struggling authors out there who see someone else’s success and thinks, “why can’t that be me?” Let me remind you that we all start at the same place: REJECTION.

Here is the rejection letter that I received back in October from another publishing company that I had submitted my children’s series to a couple months before. They responded,

We have read and reviewed it with care, but we’re sorry to say that it doesn’t seem quite right for our list. We appreciate the opportunity to read your work, however, and wish you good luck in finding the right home for this project.

Overall, it was not actually a horrible rejection letter. It was kind and considerate, and while I may wish they had told me why the book was not the right fit, I appreciated their encouragement to try again elsewhere.

Now, you may be wondering, why am I highlighting my failures online for everyone to see? Especially right after my recent success. The answer is simple really:

I believe in presenting my authentic self, every time.

And honestly, I refuse to see a rejection letter as a “failure.” Lately, I have been blessed enough to be able to focus and celebrate my accomplishments, but I am a writer, and our lives are definitely not only made up of achievements. The life of a writer is overflowing with feedback and most of it is not going to be positive (not if you’re allowing yourself to be vulnerable). There is going to be negative feedback, hurtful criticism, and yes, enough rejection letters to plaster your office walls.

So what? That does not mean that we stop writing. It means that we sit our butts back down in our writing chair, we open our computers, and we go to work.

This week, in honor of my latest rejection letter, I am going to post up a new famous author every day who went through multiple rejections on their way to becoming successful.

Are you a writer? Have you received that rejection letter? You are not alone!

Stop by my blog each day this week to read about how all the “great” authors have stood exactly where you stand now with rejection letters in hand.

My hope is this, that as a writing community we will not equate “rejection” with “failure.”

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©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Agency Games

Book Launch Recap: “Agency in the Hunger Games”

The Launch Party for Agency in the Hunger Games took place on February 23rd and it was an absolute success! 

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The theme was “Hunger Games;” so naturally, we had black table cloths, red candles, gold silverware and napkins, red plates, and Mockingjays galore! Games included “Name that Tribute” and “Reveal the Rebel Message.” Want to play? Keep your eyes open for my upcoming post: Hunger Games Inspired Party Games!

One of the most exciting parts of the launch was the Costume Party! 

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Congrats to Tifnie for the best-dressed Katniss (complete with bow and arrows)!

Books were sold and signed. Food was eaten and drinks were served. Someone asked me, “How does it feel?” I said, “Incredible and real.” 

REAL was definitely the word I would use to describe yesterday. It’s one thing to be told that your book is going to be published. It’s another thing to see that book online for sale. It’s even another thing to hold that physical copy in your hand. But there is nothing, nothing, quite like holding a party to celebrate that accomplishment, actually selling and signing books that you know someone is going to take home and read.

If someone had asked me, “So are you an author now? Real or not real?” I would have to say an affirmative, “Real!”

The Agency Games

The Agency Games: Sent.

As you all know, I have been pretty absent lately in the blogging world. Part of that was due to getting married and celebrating on our honeymoon. (I cannot believe we have already been married for a whole month, the time flew by.) Another reason was because my final draft of The Agency Games was due to the publishers at the end of June.

Technically, we are now at the beginning of July, but thankfully the publishers were pretty flexible and understanding (thank you!). After a weekend of some intense editing days (you may have seen my last post or my instagram stories), I can happily announce that the final draft of The Agency Games has been submitted to the publishing house!

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In this final draft, I ended up cutting a lot out of my original drafts as I did my best to trim out the unnecessary “fat” and leave behind just the key and intriguing bits. However, after my various peer reviews, even after cutting away at parts, I still ended up with a word count of 87,910 words! That’s 17,910 words over my original required word count!

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Turning in this draft has been such a mix of emotions. The primary emotions were definitely relief and a strong sense of self-satisfaction, but underneath those emotions was still that fear that I could have done better (even though I went through it with a fine tooth comb multiple times). I wonder if, as writers, we will always have that desire to be better, do better? There’s a fine line between wanting to do better and never being satisfied with our work. In this case, I believe that this book is the best product I could put forth at this time and I am proud of my accomplishment.

According to the editor, my book will be entering into various stages over the next few months as it is checked for “completion,” awaits its turn for an available editor, is considered by the design team for title, cover, and book description, set up for advertisement, final proofs, and finally, sent out for print. The process itself with take several months to be sure. I will be keeping you all up date with where the book currently stands in the various processes. As we get closer to the release date, I will be looking for readers who are interested in reading, reviewing, and advertising my book on their blog.

Thank you again to everyone. You all have been so wonderful and supportive during this whole process and even during my time away from blogging. You guys are amazing! I’m glad to be back in this wonderful world of WordPress.

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The Agency Games

The Agency Games: An Update

Hello bloggers!

Today’s post is going to be an update on how The Agency Games (a working title) is coming along with the publishing house. However, before I get into that, I just want to say thank you. The past couple of months have been extremely difficult with my grandfather’s sickness and passing. I have not been as present in the blogging community as I would like. Some days, it’s hard to find the motivation to be as productive as I am used to. However, every day that passes, I feel a little more like myself and while most of that is because of God’s grace, part of that is because of you: my blogging community. Thank you to each and every one of you who have commented on my recent blog posts offering your sympathy, your condolences, your prayers, your hugs, and your comfort. I am more grateful for your friendship than you could know.

I am also grateful for the growing interest in my book The Agency Games which takes an in-depth look at the popular Hunger Games  trilogy written by Suzanne Collins. Many of you are already familiar with this project; last summer you stood alongside me as I worked on my word count (75,000+) and last fall you encouraged me when the Peer Review process turned out to be more brutal than I expected.

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A couple weeks ago, I received my feedback from the third peer reviewer and their words caused both myself and the publishing house to take a step back from my book. Basically, here is the conundrum in which I found myself.

Was my book geared for a scholarly or a popular audience?

In general, a scholarly audience consists of “scholars” while a popular audience consists of your average bibliophile who enjoys reading for reading’s sake alone (not necessarily for in-depth consumption). In my experience, some “scholarly” books and articles (at times) seem to include unnecessarily complicated passages in order to appeal to a specific society. On the other hand, some “popular” books or articles might fall prey into “dumbing down” a complex topic.

I had always intended for my book, The Agency Games, to be a bridge in between these two genres. I wanted The Agency Games to be an accessible read for the average Hunger Games‘ fan while at the same time being scholarly enough to pique their interest and encourage their own in-depth examination of familiar texts. However, most of my Peer Reviewers were expecting a more “scholarly textbook” and were, understandably, disappointed by my book.

Together, the publishing house and I knew that I would need to take a firm stance on either going all scholarly or throwing myself into the “popular” genre all together. After some thought, the choice was clear. I specifically want Hunger Games’ fans to read my book. I want fellow bibliophiles to be inspired by the books we read as they realize the power these books hold to reflect and influence our current society.

Therefore, with this in mind, I have one last stage of editing to go through. Once again, I will pour through my book and this time, I am addressing you. That’s right, YOU, my fellow “tribute” and lover of the Hunger Games trilogy. My book will be an investigation of the series that we both love, it will incorporate outside scholarship, and it will be done in a manner that hopefully enlightens, encourages, and reveals what current human agency looks like and why the Hunger Games trilogy is key to understanding our own society.

If you are interested in receiving updates about the release date of The Agency Games, please be sure to drop a comment on the following post:

The Agency Games – Sign Up!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Agency Games

The Agency Games: An(other) Update

Hey Guys!

So, here I am with another update on my upcoming non-fiction analysis of The Hunger Games. My book, The Agency Games (working title), is currently in the editor’s and peer reviewer’s hands. As some of you may remember, my book already underwent round one with peer reviewers. One of my peer reviewers LOVED it and the other was not quite a fan.

So, to break the tie, the editors wanted me to revise, rewrite, and resubmit my book to a third peer reviewer. After making some pretty crazy tweaks and adding in more content, I sent back my book and it was placed in the hands of a peer reviewer about five weeks ago.

Then, I received an email a couple days ago from my publishers. Unfortunately, something happened with the third reviewer beyond their control and they had to back out. This means that my book is back in limbo as I wait to hear back from publishers as they attempt to find a different third reader to peer review my book. Once they find a new third reader, it will be another 6-8 weeks before I hear back from the publishers with the third reader’s comments.

While part of me is super bummed out (my book will definitely not be published by the end of this year), I am rolling with the punches. And honestly, this timeline might work out better for me. If I am lucky, I will hear back before Christmas and have some time over Christmas break to work on revisions, but we will see!

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me and supported me through this long process! As a first time author, everything is new to me and having all of you along for the ride is so comforting! I’ll let you know what happens next!

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Happy Writing Everyone!

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Allow Your Book To Evolve

When writing your book just know that your book WILL change.

Perhaps not a ton, perhaps only a little, or perhaps it will be a completely different book than the one you intended on writing in the first place, but one way or another, your book will evolve over time.

This isn’t a bad thing though. As you write, your ideas will grow and form. You might realize that what sounded like a great idea before doesn’t really work well in application. You may be hit with a sudden inspiration to go a different direction.

My advice?

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But in all seriousness, go for it! If you feel your book changing, you need to allow it. If you stick too tightly to your original plan, your writing will come out forced and it will sound that way to your readers. Take the new path and see where the new ideas lead you. If you hate them you can always go back and try again.

In other words, planning and outlining your book is important. But it is also just as important to allow your book to change and evolve as you write.

As you all know, I recently received my feedback from the publishers and they encouraged me to change and improve some chapters in my book. Through their suggestions, I have come up with new solutions and actually changed the entire chapter order of my book! And to be honest, it’s better for it!

Happy Writing Everyone!

***Enjoyed today’s tip? Check out my main page for more under the tab “Writing Tips”! Have any questions about today’s tip or writing in general? Leave your comments below!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Waiting Out the Waiting Period

Any author or poet who has attempted to go the route of traditional publishing is familiar with that dreaded “waiting period.” You know which one I’m talking about. You spend all your time and effort into creating an amazing story, editing and revising until your eyes are bloodshot and your fingertips are raw.

Then you hit send.

And you wait.

And you wait.

And you wait.

If you are very lucky or very talented (and often a combination of both), you will hear back from the publishers 6-12 months later as they express interest in you or your book. You think, Huzzah! The waiting is over and my book will be published immediately!

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is not how it works. After that initial waiting period and the good news, you’re in for more waiting periods. Your book will most likely go through several editing phrases and after that you have visual decisions such as cover and formatting. Your book will most likely not be published until a year or two after you hear back.

That is a LOT of waiting.

As someone intimately engulfed within this dreaded waiting period, let me give you some tips on how to survive it:

  1. Take a deep breath and stop opening up your email every single hour of every single day (Seriously, Kayla Ann, stop doing this.) It only makes you more antsy when you fixate on their response.
  2. Get outside and do something. I don’t care if it’s the gym (which is my favorite as it’s a great way to release pent up energy) or a walk with your pup, or minigolf, or going to the beach, or biking, or going to the mall. In some way, get out and do something physical.
  3. Get back inside and do something. (But you just said go outside! Yes, I did, keep reading.) After you have gotten rid of some of that nervous energy and you can actually focus, start working on a different project. Write your next book or create some blogging posts and schedule them for the future.
  4. Take another breath and repeat the steps above. Trust me, you’re going to be waiting for awhile. (I’ve also found that small, but frequent, amounts of chocolate can do wonders for your mood.)

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Anyone else ever been stuck in that waiting period?

How do you pass the time and maintain your flimsy grasp on reality?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Highlighting Rejection Day 4: Louisa May Alcott

Perhaps the name Lousia May Alcott rings a bell in your ears? Alcott was the author of Little Women. The novel follows the lives of four sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. These women are loosely based on the women in Alcott’s own life. According to VanityFair, “More than a century after it was first published, the March sisters still galvanize readers, writers, and Hollywood producers.”

However, Alcott received one of the harshest rejection letters of her time when Publisher James T. Fields rejected her work and advised her, “Stick to your teaching, Miss Alcott. You can’t write” (Boston Women’s Heritage Trail).

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What might have happened in Alcott had allowed these insults to change her mind of writing? She never would have published the first and second parts of Little Women.

After her success, Louisa herself wrote, “Twenty years ago, I resolved to make the family independent if I could. At forty that is done. Debts all paid, even the outlawed ones, and we have enough to be comfortable. It has cost me my health, perhaps; but as I still live, there is more for me to do, I suppose” (Boston Women’s Heritage Trail).

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Don’t let someone else’s opinion decide your fate. Set sail on your own journey.

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.