Carrie, you are more than welcome to use my letter in your book!
I have work published under a children's book author pen name but I will be using my adult pen name in reference to this post. Here is my letter and I hope you can all gain something from my experience!
To my beloved and aspiring author to-be,
There is so much I want to tell you as you begin to thrust yourself down the publishing rabbit hole. I will make this brief since there will be tons of others helping to guide you along the beginning of your journey. I want to share with you some of the things I have learned which helped create the stepping stones toward our final destination together within this industry.
First and most importantly, before you think about writing or even publishing your book, begin building your brand. This could take a long time so be prepared to be committed. Since you are interested in publishing both children’s books and adult fiction, you will have to set aside a good amount of time before the day job begins. Begin reaching out and connecting with parenting blogs, mommy bloggers, book reviewers, publishing houses, and other authors and bloggers.
If you’ve already written your book and have yet to build your brand, don’t worry! There is still plenty of time. Begin getting making your way around the online writing community while attending writing conferences and seminars to polish off any skills you think you may or may not have.
Give tons of reviews for other authors' books; especially those who you begin to build strong relationships with. Get to know your community. I can’t stress this enough. You don’t want to be one of those people who goes around asking for reviews once your book is released. This is a big NO, NO.
Throw yourself out there and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Everyone is super nice in the world wide web of writers. But try to do these things BEFORE you seek publication. You want a strong platform and audience welcoming your book once it is released.
Since I’ve had a lot of experience visiting schools, libraries and bookstores, I suggest you make a list of all of these establishments throughout New Jersey and make an effort to reach out to them right before your book is released. This will save you a lot more time for promoting and writing your 2nd book and even give you extra room to book author visits and presentations once your work goes on sale. You don’t want to be cramping everything during the school year when you are being hounded to write your second book; not to mention that adult fiction novel you have been meandering about. The more prepared you are before publication, the better off you will be when it comes to making time for social media and most importantly; your writing.
I also highly recommend you start a blog. In fact, I’m telling you that you must submerge yourself into the blogging world; specifically before the release of your children’s book and novel. There is a boundless sea of authors, writers and bloggers out there building their brands by blogging. This is a brilliant way to build better relationships and make long-lasting connections with your colleagues. Not to mention; if and when you decide to query agents, you will have something solid to show them other than your manuscript. The more people you have engaging with you and your blog, the better. And don’t be shy when it comes to visiting others' blogs. It is very important to read and share your input on their posts as well.
Lastly, remember to take time for yourself. Sometimes, it’s good to unplug and relax away from networking and social media. Don’t lose yourself amongst the thousands of tweets and Facebook posts you will be sending each day. You started this journey because you are a writer and the most important thing you can do as a writer is WRITE.
Never give up on your dreams and keep pushing yourself closer to the grandeur goal. Rejections build character and make us stronger so don’t ever give up. This is YOUR life… YOUR dream… and YOUR journey; no one else’s. And if you ever have to choose whether or not to catch up on social media or write a few thousand words for your book, do what your heart tells you to do. Social media will always be a few taps of the keyboard away; but ideas and musings of our mind and heart come and go. Don’t turn them away because of Twitter and Facebook. Those things can wait; however, writing the GREAT… this can never wait. Someday, your GREAT will define the destination of your FATE.
Children's Book Author & Adult Fiction Novelist