The best thing you can do as an aspiring writer is to read, read, read, especially the kind of books you’d like to write. Study your favorite books—how characters and plot and subplots develop, chapter by chapter, what principle action takes place…if you take the time to outline your favorite book, it might look a lot like what the author began with herself!
Subscribe to Writer’s Digest. It is a monthly magazine that helps aspiring writers of any genre with some craft basics. From it, I learned enough to write my first novel! You can too!
Study the market. It is difficult for an unpublished writer to get published, so you have to work every angle you can. What does that mean?
Target ONLY publishers who publish the kind of books you like to write!
Study their current line of books—see if you can spot any trends, preferences. Again, make sure your project fits with their direction.
Not sure where to start? Go to Sally Stuart’s Christian Writer’s Market Guide for a complete listing of publishers and their publishing needs.
TheChristian Writer’s Market Guide is also an excellent place to find out about writer’s conferences near you. The four best Christian writer’s conferences that I know of are held every year at: Sandy Cove, PA; Estes Park, CO; Glorietta, NM; and Mt. Hermon, CA. Keep in mind that you can apply what you learn from a secular writer’s conference too…but one of the major benefits of attending a Christian writer’s conference is that you have access to editors and agents! If you spend the money to attend one of these conferences, you should plan on either (a) relaxing and just absorbing all the information/schooling you can as a beginning author; (b) go ready to learn at an intermediate level AND pitch your project. Sometimes it’s great to go two years in a row specifically to follow this plan. Be prepared…publishing is NOT a fast process! See if there’s a critique group in your area that you can join. The key is that you have to respect the author writers in your group AND their opinions.
Two things I had to work hard to define when I was starting:
SASE: Self-addressed, stamped envelope.
UNSOLICITED: Without an agent, or an accepted query, a publisher will not look at these proposals. Some won’t even look at queries! See the Christian Writer’s Market Guide for information on how to get in with a publisher.
I’m sorry, but I cannot read your manuscripts—even a portion. While I’d love to help, I must dedicate any spare moments to family! But I do wish you every good thing as you pursue this passion we share!