How to publish a book.

Want to know how to get published?

Now that my first published novel is out and about (the most terrifying and awesome feeling ever), folks are getting curious.

How long did it take you to write it? (1 year to write, 1 year to edit)

Where did you find the time? (Time isn’t change on the ground that you find, you make time)

Does it come in large print? (Not yet, Grandmother)

But the main question people want to know, and one that I wanted to know before I had this opportunity, is how in the world does a person go about getting a book published.

My Story:

2006:  I wrote a book. It was terrible. I queried it and got rejected.

2008: I wrote a book. It was slightly less terrible. I queried it and got rejected.

2010: I wrote a book. It was bearable. I queried it, got a little interest, but no representation.

2011: I wrote TEMPUS. I queried it, got a little interest, but no representation. Something in me KNEW this book was worth fighting for. So in …

2012: I spent a year re-dreaming TEMPUS. I sent out manuscripts to people I trusted for feedback. I got a critique partner. I edited, cut down, edited, cut down. I hired someone to edit it.

2013: I queried TEMPUS again. This time, Kitty Bullard reached out to me and asked if I’d like her wonderful publishing house, GMTA, to publish TEMPUS. I was in bed. I burst into tears.

2014: TEMPUS was released .

Quick Tips:

-Tailor your queries so you’re sending agents/publishers ONLY what they ask for. Do you fit in with their niche? Do they already represent someone like you? Do your research, and mention these things specifically in your query. I probably queried 25 agents/publishers with TEMPUS, but I knew each of them were looking for something like TEMPUS, and believed I added to their current list needs.

-Join a good database like Writer’s Market to keep yourself up-to-date on trends and current marketplace needs. This is also where you can get connected with agents, publishers, and other writers.

-Read good books to sharpen your usage and mind. I learned a lot from reading books like WARM BODIES (Isaac Marion), The DIVERGENT series (Veronica Roth), and THE MORTAL INSTRUMENT SERIES (Cassandra Clare). These people have already “made it” so to speak, so watching what they do teaches you what publishers want.

 -And, most of all, keep writing, keep writing, keep writing. If I had given up after book one, that would have been it. Rejection is hard. But I made myself a promise: I would not stop writing until someone published my book. I was just crazy enough to believe that I could do it. And, if you’re a writer, my guess is that you’re a little crazy, too. 🙂

If you’ve been published before, I’d love to hear about your journey.

Holly Lauren is the author of TEMPUS, a Young Adult Science-Fiction Romance out now at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.

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12 thoughts on “How to publish a book.

  1. Congratulations on the book! I have a lot of ideas floating around in my head and I really want to write a book myself, but it’s kind of a scary endeavor. How did you come up with the courage to write again after scrapping three books?

    • Thank you so much! You’re right–writing a book is terrifying. Writing always reveals something of its author; It’s the ultimate vulnerability. 🙂 With that being said, it’s also one of the most rewarding feelings, too. To be able to give people an escape, a laugh, to remind them of something from their childhood, to be able to inspire a part of their future. So, as it usually goes, with great rewards come great risks.

      As for COURAGE? I’m not sure I’m very courageous. I think I wrote TEMPUS mostly out of a feverish determination. I figured if I kept writing, getting feedback, and getting better, then surely someone would publish me some day–if only to shut me up. I’m kind of scrappy like that. Like a small dog that won’t shut up until you pet me.

      My advice to you would be KEEP WRITING. If I can do it, you can. I promise. I only had 1-2 hours a day to write TEMPUS, and it was at night after my family was fast asleep. It was an arduous process, but obviously worth it. Good luck, and let me know if you ever put something together that you’d like a set of eyes on. I’d be happy to preview it for you. 🙂

  2. I’ve never been published, but I feel the last book I wrote is worth fighting for. I may be going into that red reading phase soon if I get a few more rejections. I’m just curious–how many rejections on the first version of Tempus did you get before it got picked up? 🙂

    • Michelle, I got about 10 NOs. I wasn’t querying as many people, though, because I had a very narrow list of who I thought would want the book. I did a ton of research, and really targeted those agencies and publishers. Don’t give up on your book! Keep pushing. Tailor your queries! Get feedback on your writing! 🙂 Keep me posted.

      • Thank you for sharing that information as well as the advice. Your motivation is contagious. 🙂 Congrats on your book by the way! I just added Tempus to my to-read list on Goodreads and plan on reading it soon!

  3. Awesome post! I’ve just been offered a publishing contract myself and I was torn between bursting into tears and squealing with joy (I ended up doing both!). It’s nice to read about your own journey – thanks so much for sharing!

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