This has been the month for food recipes, but I pretty much stopped cooking when Beloved Offspring moved out. I can offer a recipe of a different sort, though, one having to do with my experiences in the past year as a debut author awaiting publication.
Here are some steps and ingredients that have made the road to publication a wonderful journey:
Submit your MS to a terrific contest, like the Georgia Romance Writer’s Maggie, which will see your work critiqued by several published authors who want to get you published almost as badly as you want to be published.
Attend a wonderful writer’s gathering, like the Washington Romance Writer’s Spring retreat, where you can learn the basics of pitching, some excellent craft, and some up to the nanosecond industry scuttlebutt from agents, editors, and your sister authors.
Make some writing friends from several points on the continuum, because though you’re unpublished, you can still beta read, critique, encourage, and otherwise contribute to other people’s success while you’re writing, writing, writing.
Read, and read, and read, just because you love to, but also because you can learn something from every book you pick up.
Pitch all those wonderful people at the conferences who are just panting to get their hands on the next bestseller (aka your MS in disguise—right?).
Have a couple White Russians before your impromptu pitch (this step is optional, but I’m not sure I could have pitched without it).
Write and write and write, because you love to but also because as soon as you submit that bestseller in disguise, you’re going to have to follow it up with a book that’s even better (no pressure).
Start blogging, because it’s fun (writers write—right?), and because you’re going to need that ability when your bestseller in disguise does sell (and it will) and you want to put the word out.
Practicing squealing and dancing around the kitchen, because when you get that Call, these steps are not optional.
Repeat as needed until publication results, and then repeat most of the foregoing some more, because it’s still relevant—also fun.
What about you? What were some of the ingredients and steps that lead to being published, and keep you writing even now?