Should you post about a book you haven't finished writing?
Far-from-perfect drafts plus TONS of writing links and resources
*For writing links and resources, scroll down.*
Got this diamond that don’t know how to shine
Recently one of my coaching clients told me he was struggling to write because he worried his novel was never going to match the vision he has of it in his mind.
I get this. I always start out with a grand vision for a new book project, but it’s like something gets lost in translation. My manuscripts are never quite as good on paper as they were in my mind.
I think you have to come to terms with the fact that your first draft will NOT match the masterpiece in your mind. But with revision you can get closer to your grand vision. You can shape the clay, polish the diamond-in-the-rough, whatever metaphor you want to use. It will never be perfect, but with subsequent revisions you can get closer to your vision. Or maybe you make the book something different than your original vision — different, but just as good.
I’m a big fan of revision because that’s how I work. I have to get a far-from-perfect draft down so I have something tangible to work with. The last novel I completed went through at least seven major revisions, and I actually think it’s BETTER now than my original vision for it.
You have to let go of perfectionism in this process. Otherwise you’ll find yourself stranded in the middle of a manuscript and never get to the end.
Should you share about your WIP on Instagram?
Did you all check out the Find Your Readers online conference? One of my favorite sessions was with Lara Ferrari of Lemon Friday. As many of you know, I’ve been struggling with the downfall of Twitter (the one social media platform I liked), and though I’ve been trying to use Instagram instead, I’m still not feeling it.
Lara (an Instagram marketing specialist) made me want to keep trying with IG. She said often writers make the mistake of posting about writing (guilty!) when what they should be doing is making connections with potential readers. They can do this by posting about their books… even if they haven’t published any yet.
This sounds super scary to me. I’m not sure I want to share anything about my work in progress. Who knows how many more revisions it needs to go through before it’s ready for the public eye. But Lara says on her Instagram page that before you have a book deal is actually a great time to start posting about your book because there’s zero pressure. You can feel free to try things and make mistakes; you can see what posts get traction and which get crickets. That way, when you ARE about to launch a book into the world, you’ve had practice with Instagram engagement.
I still feel very unsure about this. However, I started brainstorming what I’d be willing to share about my WIP. One of the main characters is (like me) a huge Beck fan. And then I started thinking, hey, maybe I could share posts with Beck lyrics. I’ve never tried posts with song lyrics before. Could be worth a try. Maybe I’ll find some Beck fans who would want to one day read a book with a main character who loves Beck.
Maybe I can also share some posts that are simply about me and the types of books I like to read, or about me and the types of books I like to write. I don’t have many IG followers, so if the posts fall flat, it’s not like anybody will notice or care (besides me). This is my time to practice. Why not give it a try?
What do you think? Would you post about your work-in-progress on Instagram? What types of IG posts get your attention and engagement?
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Writing News & Resources
For All Writers:
The folks at Cheshire Novel Prize host a FREE group on their private app called Writers Space where you can talk about writing, ask for BETA readers, and connect with other writers.
Check out this list of 80 calls for August submissions to PAYING markets. Get paid for your writing?? Yes, please!
One Story opens for fiction submissions September 5th. They’re looking for stories that leave readers feeling satisfied and are strong enough to stand alone. The submission window will automatically close when they reach 3000 submissions.
I LOVED this Manuscript Academy podcast episode: Hopeful Rejections, 20 Years on Submission & Accountability To Your Dreams with author Corey Winkle. A MUST LISTEN for anyone with traditional publishing dreams.
Since COVID I’ve seen an uptick in sketchy publishing behavior, so Jane Friedman’s most recent youtube video, Spotting Scams & Bad Deals, seems like a very good thing to watch.
Check out the Chestnut Review for stubborn artists. Their submissions are always open and they pay $120/piece. They promise to respond in 30 days, which is HUGE in the lit mag space. Free submissions in most genres and free issues online, plus paid feedback options. They also offer workshops and international retreats. Sounds pretty amazing to me.
NYC Midnight’s 500-word Fiction Challenge kicks off August 25th, and will challenge writers worldwide to create short stories no longer than 500 words based on genre, action, and object assignments in 48 hours.
I updated my list of writing and publishing resources — my very favorite books, websites, and podcasts and writing, publishing, and creative life.
Thinking about self-publishing? This detailed guide tells you all the steps you need to take: How to Self-Publish a Book: A Guide for Aspiring Authors.
For KidLit Writers:
The Searchlight Writing for Children Awards submissions are open from now until August 31. Shortlisted winners have their text sent to agents and publishers, and first place wins a sizable cash prize.
The Highlight's Foundation is offering three sessions of the Whole Novel Workshop: a life-changing retreat with amazing faculty members for those with a full novel manuscript they want to workshop:
From Bitsy Kemper’s blog: over 100 publishers accepting unsolicited picture book manuscripts. (Updated June 2023)
WowCon, WriteMentor’s annual online conference for writers of children’s fiction, will be held September 22-24.
Check out this incredible list of upcoming events for KidLit writers!
For Querying Writers:
Check out the new Pitched website. Its creator is calling it Zillow for manuscripts, but to me it’s a bit like an online dating site. Writers can upload their manuscripts for agents (who can search by genre or trope) as well as search through a database of agent bios to find people to query. I have not used this site, and it’s brand new, so I don’t know how many agents are participating (yet), but it’s a very cool idea!
The submission window for #PitchMe, an exciting multi-faceted pitch event, opens Sept. 6.
Find a long list of example query letters on Quite the Query.
From The Good Story Company:
Put your pitch to the test with StorySnobs on August 16th! Editors will workshop loglines LIVE from attendees and registration is only $5.
Every Friday, Operation Awesome offers one free query critique through their #QueryFriday contest.
Every month I will chose one subscriber for a FREE submission package critique. Send me your query letter and the first two pages of your manuscript, and, if you’re the winner of the month, I will send you back in-depth feedback on both. Interested in receiving a critique? Fill out the form here.
Twitter pitch contests (I refuse to call it “X”) continue to happen, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to try. After all, I found my agent through a Twitter pitch party. I am now an official success story. So mark your calendar for these upcoming Twitter pitch parties. And be sure to read my updated article 13 Things to Know About Twitter Pitch Events.
#LatinxPitch, Sept. 15, for Latinx writers of kidtlit.
Writing Conferences & Events:
The Writing Day Workshop “How to Get Published” Conferences will held both online and in person this year. I attended one of these conferences in person a few years ago, and I thought it was fantastic. I can’t vouch for the virtual version, but there are some benefits: recorded classes, no travel expenses, attend in your comfy pants. Plus, sign up for pitch sessions with agents for $29 a piece. Check out the upcoming conferences:
Writers Digest offers loads of virtual conferences on a variety of publishing and writing craft topics.
Killer Nashville International Writers’ Conference is happening August 17-20. For mystery, suspense, and thriller writers.
WowCon, WriteMentor’s annual online conference for writers of children’s fiction will be held September 22-24.
For more writing conferences, check out this list or this list of 19 Writing Conferences for Emerging and Established Writers.