I am the queen of romance, I romance so many ideas that if they all came to pass, they would be writing books about me. I would be traveling the world, a shining example of selflessness.
Ever done that? Just sitting there feverishly writing, when your mind wanders and you begin to imagine how awesome your book will be and the hoard of people tripping over each other to read it? Romancing the reward for writing a phenomenal book.
I have done that. I get ideas for fiction books and non-fiction alike when I tell myself stories while weeding the yard, or washing dishes. Keeping my mind busy while doing boring tasks has been something I’ve done since I was five. (Only at five I acted these stories out loud.) I imagine what the title would be for my story and revisit it over and over in my mind. My books on bestseller lists everywhere. It’s fun to day-dream; romancing the idea of being a famous author.
But . . . I don’t want to put the work into a book about one of my stories. Don’t want to research the subject or characters or verify whether one of the scenes would be an accurate portrayal of reality—you know, I might write a futuristic novel in the year 2071 without researching what I think life would really be like then . . . every minute detail. And details are important—vital.
Cactus Moon Publications, LLC is going on eight years in the publishing business. I am the owner and executive editor. One of the most common obstacles to success for new authors is not being aware of what it takes to make their book a success. It involves a great deal of work and effort—the images in romancing authorship are (hopefully) the end result—the end result of your hard work.
Writers are artists; the use of language flowing easily from their pen as they bring us to the brink of tears or falling over with laughter. But not every writer will do whatever it takes to be an author.
Being an author is a profession, writing is a hobby. By profession, I am referring to the author as the sole owner of a business. A book is one of the author’s products. This is the side of being published where many budding authors are taken by surprise. When you launch a new product, you need to get the information out to the public. Hopefully, BEFORE the book is published.
Here are some steps I recommend BEFORE submission to a publishing company—get ready because you will almost need to eat, drink, and sleep your book if you are a debut author.
- Write and rewrite your manuscript until you have worked out all of the bugs. You would be surprised at how many changes you will have to make to your story before it is ready. For non-fiction writers, you will need to be ready to cite your sources and experiences to ‘prove’ your information. “My grandmother always told me . . .” is not an acceptable source of credible information. You may believe it but you will have to do research to cite sources to back up Grandma’s information. Yes, I did receive a manuscript with this source.
- This isn’t a must but joining an author’s group in your area is a really good way to get tips and suggestions about your book. Not to mention the great friendships.
- Once you have your manuscript where you are ready to move forward, I suggest a ‘beta reader’. This is someone who is willing to read your manuscript and give you suggestions for improvement based on a reader’s perspective. This does not have to cost money. If you look around you when at work or extracurricular activities, you can always find an avid reader. Friends work great if they like to read, I mean really like to read. You can always hire a proofreader. If you visit Fiverr.com you can find proofreaders for a very reasonable price should you decide to hire out.
- After you have rewritten your story with all the suggestions from your readers, you are ready to submit to an editor. Editing can be expensive but if you understand the different types of editors, you will know which editor you will need. Fiverr.com represents a lot of editors as well but be diligent, there are many so you will have to put some thought into who you choose. It is not difficult to find an editor.
- Now, after editing, your manuscript is ready to be submitted.
- If you have been building your fan base and you have people ready to read your book, you can send queries out to publishers. Publishers will be interested in your ‘base’ when vetting you before signing.
- Keep in mind: Authors and Publishers have different business goals. Your product is your vision and the Publisher’s product is providing a publishing service to an author. The marketing for the book will be primarily on the release and intermittently throughout the contract. Why? Publishers represent other authors and books; they market to draw more authors. This means you will carry the bigger responsibility to sell your book. There are abundant resources where you can learn to market your book successfully.
- If you are very introverted, you can seek out an agent or publicist. The agent will help you submit your book to publishers and give you tips about the book. The publicist will market the book as is.
Still feeling the romance of being an author?
As a publisher, I don’t do everything the way other publishers will. We are all different, so I recommend knowing what you are looking for but being realistic about your chances. If you are a brand new author with no prior experience or platform, I don’t recommend hitting up the big houses. Your manuscript will go into a slush pile before anyone looks at it. Big Houses mean big money and if you are brand new with no agent it will be like winning the lottery if you are published. We are a small press and have taken many a debut author and while we assist authors in finding ways to market and build their platform through suggestions and links, we don’t do it for the author.
There are many resources online to help new authors build their platform, prepare a CV, and query to send a publisher.
If you are still feeling the romance of authorship, then you are ready to get your story out!
Currently, Cactus Moon is accepting non-fiction titles only for the next couple of years. We are a bit heavy on fiction. Need to get some balance!
We hope to hear from you.
Lily Gianna Woodmansee
Executive Editor, Cactus Moon Publications, LLC