In hindsight there are things I wish I would have completed before "the call." Here are just a few:
- Have a website in place Most if not all published writers are expected to have websites. I'd planned to develop mine over the summer but now wish I'd done it months ago. In the book proposal I'm writing, I had to list ways I plan to market my writing. I would appear more professional if I could mention my website rather than having to tell about my future plans to have one. Besides, having one in operating order would have saved me the hassle when I have lots of other new things to deal with.
- Have a professional-looking photo. This is another thing I have to send with my book proposal. It would have been easier to have this sitting on file, rather than having to take time out of my frantic editing to get one taken.
- Have a plan for the next book. One of the first things Rachelle asked me to do is write a one page synopsis for my next book. I stammered and swallowed hard before I gave her a semi-coherent response: "What?" Although I had a lot of ideas floating around, I wish I'd been more prepared with a definite story idea (or even several). I think publishers want to work with authors long term. They may be more likely to take a chance on us if they see the potential for future books.
Fortunately, these kinds of things are not deal-breakers. But if I'd had them in place, I may have saved myself some stress!
We can never be totally prepared for all of the new and unexpected things that we'll face on this writing journey. Sometimes we'll walk in the fog and have to learn as we go. But in the competitive world of publishing, we need all of the advantages we can get and so should seek to be as prepared and professional as possible.
What about you? Have you ever been caught unprepared? What do you wish you would have done better? On the flip side, what are you doing to prepare for the future? If you are actively querying, would you be ready if you got "the call"?
Have a great weekend!