Friday, August 13, 2010

HOW TO BE PUBLISHED (SORT OF) -- by Tamara Leigh

Week Two of:

Tips from those who have gone before us

By: Tamara Leigh

When my first book, Warrior Bride, was published in the secular market in 1994, I had no formal background in writing. I didn’t belong to a writer’s organization (was only vaguely aware of their existence), wasn’t in a critique group (what’s that?), hadn’t read any writing-related books (well, there was the hair-pulling one on how to properly format my master’s thesis in Speech and Language Pathology), and didn’t have a mentor (other than my husband who loved everything I wrote). So how was I published without workshops, critique partners, writing craft books, and mentors? Here are the basics:

1) Read—a lot!
2) Write—a lot!
3) Complete a manuscript
4) Submit manuscript to an agent
5) (to be continued)

Am I saying the things I missed out on early in my writing career are unnecessary? Absolutely not. I won’t go into detail about what led up to signing my name to a four-book contract with Bantam Books, but here is the last item on my “basics” list:

5) Be in the right place at the right time (a cliché—forbid!)

Obviously, that last one doesn’t really belong on the “basic” list since it can’t be counted on. Thus, in addition to basics #1-4, I advise aspiring writers to add those things I overlooked on the road to publication:
There you go, the basics and then some! Actually, there is one more “item” that ought to be on every writer’s list. In fact, it should be placed prominently at the top. Here are the verses I have aspired—and at times failed—to live by since I left the secular market and began writing Christian fiction. I hope they will be as inspiring to you as they are to me:

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

Galatians 6:4-5 (The Message)

Tamara Leigh is the best-selling author of twelve novels, including Perfecting Kate, award-winning Splitting Harriet, and RITA-award-finalist Faking Grace. A former speech and language pathologist, Tamara lives with her husband and their sons in Tennessee.

Check out Tamara's latest novel, Nowhere, Carolina, the sequel to her FAB book in the Southern Discomfort Series, Leaving Carolina .


Sarah Forgrave said...

Tamara, I LOVE your books! My family always gives me weird looks when I read them because I laugh out loud so much. :-) So glad to read your post and wonderful insights.

Keli Gwyn said...

Tamara, thanks for your great tips. I spent my first two years writing in isolation. It wasn't until I became active in RWA and joined ACFW that I met other writers. I'd been missing out on so much. Not only have I made wonderful friends through these organizations, but I've learned heaps.

Krista Phillips said...

LOVE this Tamara!!! A simple, step by step process! :-) And LOVE the list of books to read... I've read a few but see a lot I need to read!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Thanks Tamara.
I look forward to getting to know you through your books.
I appreciate the list you included and the resources. This is a great help to many.
Sure appreciate your joining us today:)

Beth K. Vogt said...

I too am a fan of your books, Tamara. And now I am going to be adding to my To Be Read pile, thanks to your recommendations!