Kristin recently blogged about the fact that summer may not be your best time to query an agent due to the fact that no one wants to spend gorgeous days cooped up in an office with submissions. But with fall almost upon us, agents are going to start hunting for that next big project—just in time to shop it before the publishing world closes down for the holidays.
Are you ready?
If the answer is no, don’t sweat it. The kids are back in school, summer vacations are past, and there’s no better time for you to get your writing goals on track. Here are a few ideas:
- Join a critique group. Check with your local writers organization for a list of critique groups accepting new members. If the organization offers classes, signing up for one can be another good way to find a critique group. When the class ends, ask other like-minded students if they’d like to continue meeting to share work. If you can’t find a group in your area, try some online options instead. WEbook.com is a great site for getting feedback on your work, and practicing your critiquing skills for others.
- Polish your query. Stop toying with how to pitch your book, and just write the darn thing! Then take it to your critique group for a trial run. Ideally, your group members have already read all or part of the manuscript you’re pitching, so they’ll be able to judge whether the query gets at the heart of your story and shows off your voice.
- Sign up for a writers conference. Many writers groups host both fall and spring conferences, so now is the time to register if you’d like to catch one this season. Writing can be a lonely task; the infusion of energy you receive at conferences can help you power through writers’ block and combat feelings of too much solitude.
- Start building a platform. No, you don’t have to have ten thousand followers on your blog by the time you start querying agents. But since you will need a strong author platform when your book sells, it’s a good idea to start getting in the habit of promoting yourself. Having an existing fan base can also drive sales if you decide to digitally self-publish. Take this advice with a healthy dose of common sense: if your book isn’t finished yet, don’t spend more time blogging/Facebooking/tweeting than you spend writing the novel.
Anita Mumm is a Literary Assistant at the Nelson Literary Agency. This post was taken from their monthly newsletter and posted here with permission. To get more great industry news, subscribe to their newsletter.