Here we are - the end of my introductory week of blogging. To finish off the week, I'll muse on my future plans.
All we aspiring writers have the same goal in mind:
We just don't know how to get there.
It's a little scary, but it's also exciting. If I do nothing, I'm going nowhere. If I do anything, then I'm better than nothing. So, I resolve to go where no Melvyn Windham has ever gone before. I don't know how things are going to end up, but one day I'll find out. It'll be like reading a book where the ending is not yet written.
Am I going to succeed and become the next J. K. Rowling? Am I going to get just one book published and say it's enough? Am I going to fall flat on my face? We shall see.
So what am I going to do? The first step is easy:
#1) Keep on writing. A no-brainer.
Beyond that, I don't know what I'm doing. But here's what else I'm trying:
#2) Send out queries. This is hard to do, knowing that I'll mostly get rejected. It's so easy to say: "What's the use? Why waste the time and the postage?"
#3) Write short stories. The last few years, I've been concentrating on my book projects. Now I read that sometimes you need some credits behind you to rise out of the slush pile. That is, if you can sell a few short stories, you can probably sell a book. For me, these are harder to write, because there's so little room to put stuff.
#4) Get an agent. I'm actually reading that in writing sci-fi you can do without an agent. Some sci-fi publishers even prefer not working with agents. Orson Scott Card has suggested selling one book first, but before you sign the contract - get an agent - then you're more likely to get a good agent's attention. I've already sent out a few queries on my "Justice" book without an agent, and half of the publishers have already rejected me, so I'm thinking more seriously about finding an agent.
#5) Go to conferences. I'm going to try out my first conference in November. I'm sure that my blogs in October will talk about this one a lot - so stay tuned for details. My biggest goal for November is to find an agent.
#6) Keep up this blog. I wish a successful author had started one of these when they were a nobody. It would help me out a lot if I could read about their experiences while trying to break into the business. My wife says there probably is that kind of blog out there, but I just haven't found it yet. Even if no one ever reads this, it will at least help me collect my thoughts and focus my energies toward meeting specific goals and getting published.
#7) Network. I still don't know how to do this. I'm on Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Classmates (though I don't go there anymore). I have my own website. I used to write on discussion forums related to actuaries and puzzles. Do I need to join writer's discussion forums? Do I need a MySpace page? Is Facebook a good way to network professionally? So many questions! I'm going to have to devote a whole blog to just this one topic!
#8) Join writer's groups. Okay, maybe this is part of networking. I've been avoiding these guys before, as I'm such an introvert, and I'm scared to death to meet people just like me. But now I'm thinking: Wait! These guys are aspiring writers - just like me! We could help each other out in getting published! Now I just want to kick myself for not doing this sooner. In my area, there are a few options: The Winston-Salem Writers' Group; the Triad Writers' Group; the NC Writer's Network; and nationally, the SFWA (Science Fiction Writer's Association) - I'll join this last one after I meet their requirements.
#9) Other stuff. I have a couple of unique talents at my disposal. Since I'm a music composer, and my daughter is an illustrator, I've been toying with the idea of putting together some video pitches and put them on YouTube. I'm always coming up with strange ideas. If anything gives me an advantage, I might as well use that idea and see if it leads anywhere. Then again - anything too unorthodox may work against me. One idea is to self-publish and come up with some crazy distribution scheme. But I'd much rather go the traditional route.
Well, that's it for now. Thanks for reading and letting me introduce myself this past week. Now I'm going to take a week off and plan the next step toward becoming published.
Till then, I'll see you aspiring writers later.