How to Become an Author in Eight Easy Steps

1. Write. Write some more and more, and more still.

2. Rewrite.

3. Rewrite some more (i.e., until your fingers bleed, your eyes burn, and you can’t possibly swallow another chocolate chip cookie or a tortilla chip dipped in salsa). And, until there’s nothing left to rewrite.

4. Let your manuscript simmer for about two weeks.

5. Take a look at your manuscript again. Does any portion need to be cleaned up? Are there parts that aren’t needed or slow the story down? Is a je ne sais quoi missing? Find it! If yes, return to step three with ample determination. If no, happily proceed to step six.

6. Make a list of agents and publishers that could potentially swoon in delight over your query letter and/or a portion of your manuscript. Carefully study the books said agents and publishers have in their stables and see if your soon-to-be-published work fits in.

Note: My picture book was published by a publisher with very few picture books under their belt, but my book happened to work for them. Take away: You never really know, do you?

7. Send out pieces of your heart via a query letter/first few chapters/whatever the agent/publisher requires, and continue writing, either something else or revisiting your present manuscript periodically. BUT only if your gut feeling invites you to pay return visits. Otherwise, move on to your next project OR plan how to market your current project when it is published! 

8. No matter what happens, what is said or not said, stay optimistic.

If you have indeed completed an entire manuscript for any type of book, you are a winner. The majority of so-called writers never reach The End. The real, honest-to-goodness end, meaning your work has been edited and reworked until it’s exactly as you hoped it would be.

All along the way: Study authors you admire carefully, asking, what makes them outstanding? How did they do that? “That” being something in the story that makes you yearn to write as well. 

Despite all of the above, never be afraid of:

– Being criticized (has your critic ever completed a novel?);

– Going out in public with your literary baby (this should be a source of utter joy);

– Writing something in a different way, because it’s wonderfully marvelous to be different, new, and fresh. Whatever you do, write from your heart. You can’t go wrong.



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1 year ago

Hi Lida, any time I read one of your books I think it probably doesn’t take you too long to come up with such a wonderful entertaining mystery book.Now I know better. Keep it up. Thank you!!

carole wagener
1 year ago

Hi Lida, I’m on the speakers committee for Coastal Dunes CWC in Nipomo. Would you be available to speak to our club on August 5 or September 9 at 10 a.m. at the Nipomo Library. We would like to hear about your children’s book, your latest mystery, and how to become a published author, tips such as those listed on your blog. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thanks. Carole

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