Are you of the “Writers are Born” camp or the “Writers are Made” camp? If it’s possible, I stand firmly in the middle. It’s my opinion the good Lord gives us the desire to write and the ability to fashion a story. I also believe it’s up to us to take the germ of talent He gives us and cultivate and nurture it in order to see it grow.
One key thing I’ve noticed since becoming a published author is this: the aspiring writers getting published in Christian fiction these days are the individuals who’ve made themselves known. How do they do this? If you’re an author hoping to be published, I hope you might glean something of interest and/ or helpful in your writing journey. But always remember you are a writer, published or not. The following list is comprised of my own personal observations. Feel free to leave a comment with your own suggestions. I'd love to see a free exchange of ideas.
Here’s some of the things I’ve noticed pre-pubbed authors doing in order to make themselves known in the industry:
•Make a commitment to writing and improving their craft—and stick with it (including editing, revising and reworking as much or as often as necessary).
•Find critique partners.
•Submit queries on a regular basis (and proposals/manuscripts when requested).
•Join online writing groups and organizations (including participating in online classes).
•Join a local writing group and attend meetings.
•Network and form solid friendships and relationships with fellow writers and others in the publishing industry via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and other media outlets.
•Visit and make comments on blogs.
•Maintain a website and/or blog and post regularly.
•Attend at least one conference a year and meet with editors, agents and/or publishers.
•Volunteer at conferences.
•Offer to be a beta reader or promote an author’s new release.
Do you have anything to add to this list? Helpful hints or suggestions? I’m not saying you have to do any or all of these things, but if you can employ one or more of these activities, they will help you to grow and stretch as a writer, whether you're not yet published or published.
Most published authors are also more than willing to help aspiring writers achieve their dream. They can give encouragement, add a new perspective, give you suggestions and answer questions. Reach out to them. Ask questions on the e-mail loops of the ACFW or any other online writing group. We’re all in this journey together.
Blessings to you as you write for His glory.
JoAnn is the author of The Lewis Legacy Series, contemporary Christian romantic adventures, published by Torn Veil Books. She also published a Christmas 2012 novella, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, with Pelican Book Group/White Rose Publishing and a short story in I Choose You, a romance anthology from Oak Tara. A full-time estate administration paralegal in Louisville, Kentucky, JoAnn lives with her family in her native southern Indiana. She is a member of the ACFW and its Indiana chapter as well as the Louisville Christian Writers.