Marianne, Belinda and Rowena at the book signing table, at the Logan North Library.
Trent, Marianne, myself, Louise Cusack, Kylie Chan and Andrew Warrilow were on a panel today about the Road to Publication and what happens after. Thanks to everyone who came along and caught up with us.
The panel topic ties in with our recent posts on First Sales. Having been on these kind of panels before, I noticed there are recurring questions. So I thought I'd answer them over several posts.
How do I polish the craft of writing? Which leads to ... How do I know when my book is ready to send out?
Join a writing group that is specific to your genre. For instance Vision writers. Either on-line or in person (which is better), you can learn to critique in a supportive environment. Critiquing other people's work is really useful to help hone your analytical skills.
Attend as many workshops as you can, to polish your craft and meet other writers. See the QLD Wrtiers Centre workshop program, or the writers centre in your state.
Read books on writing. I always recommend Ursula K Le Guin's 'Steering the Craft of Writing' specifically for its chapter on Point of View. Many beginning writers have trouble with this.
Read widely in the genre, as well as doing your research. Read the books that are being short listed for awards. Aurealis Award, Australia. The Hugos and the Nebulas in the US.
And,when you finish your first book, put it away for a while and write another. You'll learn so much, you'll be glad you didn't send your first book out before you could rework it.
Then have your book assessed by a manuscript assessor who knows your genre. Ask your writing friends if they've used an assessor they can recommend. Take a look at the Australian Writers Market Place, produced by the QLD Writers Centre. You'll find, ms assessors, agents, competitions and publishers.
Next time I'll look at How do I know which publisher to send my book to? and How do I get my book in front of a publisher or agent?