I’ve been at this game for a while now, so I thought I’d give some advice on what I’ve noticed helps people progress through the querying process. So, here’s my advice….
1. Social Media
As an acquiring editor, this is something I know is a big deal. An author needs to show they are capable of promoting their work and building a fan base before even signing a contract. So, while preparing the query, set up an author page on Facebook, get involved in Twitter, and set up a blog. Any other social media is also great. If you prefer Tumblr, Pinterest, etc, go ahead and set up a profile on those too. But Twitter is probably a must, since the writing community is strong there, along with twitter pitching and notifications of upcoming pitching competitions and other events.
2. Critique Groups/Partners and Beta Readers
Feedback is the best way to receive a personalized and objective view on your manuscript. It will help you improve where you have weaknesses, see typos, and reinforce your strengths. You can also help others by using your strengths to uplift their weaknesses. These people will become your friends, so will also be your greatest advocates.
3. Following Writers who are on “The Next Stage”
Whether it be on Facebook or Twitter, follow writers who are at the next stage of the querying process. Whether they be just signed, or published, it doesn’t matter. They can give advice on direction, writing techniques that worked for them, and sometimes giveaway critiques and books. They can point you in the right direction, or guide you down the path that will work best for you through their example. I highly recommend following their blogs/websites.
Especially read books by less well known authors in the genre in which you are writing. It’s one thing to read the huge trendy books, but the books that are more obscure often have a uniqueness about them, rather than just mainstream appeal. Reading this variety helps learn how to create different types of voices and individuality with your own manuscript/s. So stop being a sheep and be an explorer! 😀
5. Help Others
Helping other people promote their books brings good karma. Being a writer can be competitive, but in general, being supportive is way more powerful than competing. Giving your blog for posting, tweeting, and/or sharing, will benefit you in the long run as you form friendships and respect with other writers. Be generous, be kind, while also being you.
Katie Teller is a writer of NA fiction. Her debut, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, is now available. You can find out more about Katie, the Kiya trilogy, and her other books on twitter, facebook or at her own blog.