"I used to think that being an author was just about writing a book and finding a publisher. But there’s a lot more to it than that. It can be a long and complicated process, with a lot of steps along the way.
Step 1: I wrote my book. This is the obvious, and most important step. You can’t be an author without writing a book. So I came up with the idea for my book, and then I wrote my first draft. It was messy and needed a lot of work, but it was written!
Step 2: I sent my book to critique partners. Critique partners are other writers who give you feedback so that you can improve. Usually, with critique partners you will swap your work so that we’re helping each other become better writers.
My critique partners gave me some really great feedback, and I took all their feedback and sat down to revise my book, and make it as good as I can possibly make it. I didn’t just revise once, I revised multiple times. And after each revision, I sent the book to a new group of readers for feedback.
Step 3: I started looking for a literary agent. A literary agent is the person who sends your book to publishers, and represents you and your writing during your entire publishing career.
To find an agent, I started by writing a pitch for my book. Then, I started researching what agents are out there, and who wanted a book like mine: a young adult romcom about two brown girls. Once I had a list of agents, I emailed them to say that I was looking for representation. I sent them my pitch and sample pages of my work. After 3 months of doing this, I signed a contract with an agent!
Step 4: I revised my book again with my literary agent.
Step 5: My book went on submission to publishers. This means my agent created a list of editors at different publishing houses who he thought would like my book. He sent out emails to editors with a pitch of the book, and navigated everything to do with this process. This stage of publishing can be difficult because you’re just waiting to hear news from your agent. It’s a good time to start working on something new...and that’s exactly what I did!
Hopefully, after this stage an editor at a publishing house will make an offer on your book, and then they will become your publisher. Leading to...
Step 6: I revised my book...again. This time, with the help of my editor at my publishing house. This step usually has a bunch of mini-steps involved. At first, I worked on something called developmental edits, which means working on plot, characters, pacing...all the big picture things in my book. Then, I worked on line edits, which means looking at your book at a line-by-line level. Then, it was time for copyedits. This is where a copyeditor comes in and helps you fix all your grammar, and spelling, along with consistency and timeline. Lastly, I did pass pages. This happens after a design team has laid out the pages of the book, and it looks like it would in a real book-form, but it’s not bound together. This was my last time reading over my book before it was published so I had to make sure that I didn’t overlook anything.
Step 7: Promotion! This step doesn’t really come after step 5. It’s a step that exists all the way through my journey as an author! As an author, I’m always promoting myself, my brand, and my books. Promotion can mean a lot of things. For example, having a beautiful book cover and doing a “cover reveal” is important promotion for my book. Doing interviews, or events is promotion. Even being on social media and talking about my life, writing, books I’m reading...all of this can be a part of promoting myself as an author, and my books.
Step 8: Publication. Finally, after years of hard work, my book was published and out in the world. Making its way into readers’ hands...and hopefully into their hearts, too.
Rinse and repeat all steps (except #3) for all following books!
Being an author is a lot different than what I thought it would be. It’s a lot more than writing a book, and sometimes it means having to develop new skills. Like learning how to revise and rewrite, or even figuring out how to take a good photo for your author Instagram account. But it’s definitely my dream job being able to make up stories in my head, and share them with readers across the world."