This will be my very first time writing about writing, so I beg of you, be gentle. In 2009, I embarked on a journey -- one where I would finally tell my story. I was to sit down and write an unconventional version of my memoirs. It was a seemingly long journey with lots of twists and turns, stopping points, and restart lines.
The writing process for the book would take four years. I began to write (to the best of my abilities) my life story. The goal in mind, to get published so that my message of living mentally well and the path to hope could be shared on a world wide basis and help people. After 16 rejections, and within a little under a year, a willing publisher in Roman & Littlefield was found. Well, one fantastically (to my surprise) published book later, it seams my team and I have found success.
Column by Kevin Hines, author of the memoir CRACKED, NOT BROKEN
(June 2013, Roman & Littlefield). Kevin is one of only 33 people to attempt
suicide off the Golden Gate Bridge and survive. He now spreads his message
of hope, living well, and the prevention of suicide -- and has spoken to more
than 300,000 people thus far. See his website here, and find him on Twitter.
That brings us to Step One:
Create a team of those you trust who can help shepherd you through this process, whether you intend on self-publishing or you dream big of getting your book picked up by one of the omnipresent top ten publishing houses. For me, that process included my lovely wife who checked out every stage of the writing and helped usher me through the ever changing manuscript by being my second pair of biased eyes. She was closest to the project and due to the books content. She was emotionally involved.
You've gotta have a driving force who can throw out realistic and pertinent deadlines. Someone who is an interested third party who keeps you in line for you attaining actual progress. This is crucial so you actually see the idea into fruition. Luckily for me, that person was already in house and had launched several very successful books. My manager Phyllis Parsons of Parsons Company Inc. She walked me through the entire situation. From the initial writing stages, onto creating the perfect book proposal, to negotiations and on to inking the deal.
Find yourself a great literary agent, or in my case co-agents. My manager and co literary agent Phyllis Parsons found our aid in a wonderful petite woman by the name of Dana Newman of Dana Newman Literary. At first she was just a fictional character, brought up by Phyllis. I heard about her and was told it would be a great match. I was informed that the two of them would not stop until the book was sold. Once I met her, I was moved by her passion, kindness and drive to see this thing through. Even when my fear of never being published reared it's ugly head, or when I had a "We're never gonna get published!" moment or two, Phyllis and Dana kept me calm, coolheaded and completely collected. Thankfully they never doubted for a second that the book, my book CRACKED, NOT BROKEN would get out into the hands of so many whose lives would be effected by it and even changed.
Write, write, write, and then, have slices from a block of sharp cheddar cheese with crackers and deli meat, and then write some more. There were many days where I nestled into my office and wrote. From 9am to 3pm or even 9am-5pm. Especially when overshadowing deadlines were looming around the corner. I would write to my heart's content. It was a freeing process and one I look forward to repeating in my next book. And yes I now have a list of at least ten books that I want to write, titles pending!
Breathe. Take time to walk away from your masterpiece and breath. Get a fresh perspective from a trusted adviser. Take time to vent about your long writing journey. And take time to walk away for entire days, hell maybe a week or two. Time when you have left your thoughts on writing to the birds. Free your mind, meditate on life and it's beauty, but what ever you do, remember that stepping away and thinking of other things can help you re-evaluate what you are putting on each digital or physical page.
Lastly, Step Six:
This one is just a thought: Think about writing a chapter or two by hand. If for nothing other than to practice legible handwriting. This is how I wrote the last chapter, which interestingly enough came to me three chapters in. This helped me walk away from the initial piece and create a broad overview of the book. Writing a chapter like this helped me move the project forward. Remember whatever you do keep writing, and if you don't love every minute of it, your in the wrong business, take up sketching or something!
Hook agents, editors and readers immediately.
Check out Les Edgerton's guide, HOOKED, to
learn about how your fiction can pull readers in.
Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:
- A new agent wants unique literary voices, women’s fiction, narrative nonfiction, memoir & comedy.
- 10 Dos and Dont's For the Aspiring Novelist.
- The Value of Tough Love and Honest Feedback.
- Agents Share Their Query Letter Pet Peeves.
- Agent Maria Vincente seeks clients NOW.
- Open Your Eyes and Ears: Writing Inspiration is all Around You.
- Follow Chuck Sambuchino on Twitter or find him on Facebook. Learn all about his writing guides on how to get published, how to find a literary agent, and writing a query letter.
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