Deb: Ready to Publish

I wish I could say I’ve never submitted any of my work
before it was ready to publish. In truth, I’ve done it more often than I care
to admit, especially in my early days of publishing.
Some “too soon” submission, or even “too soon” publishing,
is unavoidable, and perhaps even necessary to a writer’s development. It’s hard
to judge your own work, and in fact you may be better off submitting too soon
than holding your work back indefinitely because you’re holding it up against potentially unreachable standards.
But you don’t want to keep doing that forever. Of late, markets
have become less forgiving. In traditional publishing, agents and editors
rarely take time to “grow” authors the way they used to; Big Five publishers in
particular are looking less and less for the slow-build author and more and
more to the smash-hit celebrity. In indie publishing, authors who haven’t
already built loyal followings are finding it harder to get noticed with
projects that don’t shine in one way or another.
It’s for these reasons, along with the challenge of
navigating an ever-changing set of publishing options, that I wrote What Every Author Should Know: No Matter HowYou Publish, along with its companion volume, Write Your Best Book (February 2015).
It’s also why I agreed to teach a six-hour “Ready to Publish”workshop for the 49 Alaska Writing Center. The workshop is activity-based;
during our session, participants will create several documents, including an
action plan, to guide their thinking about whether their writing projects are
ready and what to do with them once they are.
In particular, workshop participants will:
Examine their writing process as a way of
assessing where they are with their work
Clarify what success means to them
Use query questions to better understand their
Use “also boughts” (aka comps) to better
understand their readers
Write back copy as a means of refining their approach
to their projects
Create individualized “ready for market” surveys
Assess ways to use early readers to the benefit
of the work
Apply the psychology of revision to the creation
of “best books”
Draft a publishing strategy for their work
Draft a query or sell sheet
Create an action plan
If you’re in Anchorage on Saturday, Feb. 7 (9 am – 4 pm), I hope you’ll join us. Advance registration is required. A copy of What
Every Author Should Know
is included with the registration fee. There’s
also an optional “first pages” critique; for this, be sure to register sooner
rather than later, as I’ll be preparing the written portion of the critiques in
advance of the individual consultations, scheduled during the lunch hour and
aftermath of the workshop.
Co-founder of 49 Writers and founder of the
independent authors cooperative Running Fox Books, Deb
 has authored fifteen
books. Her most recent are What
Every Author Should Know
, a comprehensive guide to book publishing and
promotion, and Cold
, a novel that
“captures the harsh beauty of the terrain as well as
the strain of self-doubt and complicated family bonds,” according to Booklist. A freelance editor and book coach, 
Deb lives and works on Hiland Mountain outside of Anchorage, Alaska, and at a cabin near the
Matanuska Glacier. 

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