Friday, January 21, 2011

Twenty steps to writing and publishing a novel

Sometimes we complicate things, so I thought we'd get back to basics today. Here is my 20 step program for writing and publishing a novel.

How To Write and Publish a Novel

  1. Think of a fun, hooky story idea, and complete your research.
  2. Create some quirky, realistic characters
  3. Outline (or if you are a SOTP writer like me, start writing...)
  4. For those who outlined... start writing. For those pantsters... keep writing.
  5. Finish your perfect first draft!! (Pansters will get to this point sooner...)
  6. Call your mother (or whoever your cheerleader is) and let them tell you how wonderful your book is and how it will probably be the next bestseller and promise to buy them a car out of your seven-figure advance.
  7. Read your first draft and realize what a pile of crap it is. (Panster's drafts will be much more crappy though...)
  8. Cry.
  9. Get over yourself and sit down to edit.
  10. Finish editing and pat yourself on the back.
  11. Repeat steps 6 - 10 until you really hate your novel because you've read it so much.
  12. Let a paid-editor/crit partner/crit group read your book and splatter it with red ink.
  13. Repeat steps 8 - 10.
  14. Go eat some chocolate.
  15. Submit some agent queries.
  16. Get rejected a billion times, edit some more, repeat steps 1 - 15 on more books
  17. Finally snatch an agent.
  18. Lose all your fingernails because you bite them while waiting for answers from publishers.
  19. Resort to biting your toenails when an editor takes your manuscript to pub committee.
  20. Throw a big party because, WOOHOO, you've got a contract, baby! 
(Please note, the time frame for this process varies depending on the author/agent/publisher/book)


Sherrinda Ketchersid said...


I love this, girl! You are so incredibly funny. Seriously though, the reason it is so funny is because it hits home! Well, except for maybe the toenail part.....eeeewwwwww!

Anonymous said... made my morning.

Sarah Forgrave said...

How do you know my writing process so well, Krista?! Seriously funny...if that even makes sense. Thanks for letting me laugh my way into the weekend.

Casey said...

Oh I so needed to be reminded of this! Fun, fun fun, writing can be FUN!

Who woulda though...? ;D

Gia Cooper said...

Mine is at step 19. I've not bit my toenails...but I feel like crying all the time and tell myself there is not way it is actually happening...or will happen.

Sometimes, being a writer is the pits.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Wow, Krista.
I am printing this one out and posting in my study.
Tissue please--for all the laughing tears.

Keli Gwyn said...

What a fun post, Krista! Thanks for the chuckles.

Krista Phillips said...

So glad I could tickle your funny bone today:-)

The sad thing is... most everything was pretty close to true.

MAYBE the toe nail thing was an exaggeration... :-)

Pepper said...

I've been stuck in limbo (# 8-11) for a very long time.
What do you start biting after you run out of toenails? :-)
I'm bringing chocolate fore everyone. Right now. Because you all know you need it!!

Great post, Krista. So funny! I've reread & reedited my novels so many times my mother almost hates them (snicker - Just kidding...mostly)

Angie Dicken said...

#13 seems to be on a constant repeat mode in my writing! I am forever tweaking!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

EXaggeration? Exaggeration? Seriously, Krista, my gag reflexes are in overdrive just thinking about it!

Krista Phillips said...

*licking lips for Sherrinda's benefit...*

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...


Krista!!!!!!!!!!! You ornery thing!

Seriously, the thought of getting toe-cheese stuck in my teeth makes me want to hurl.