First, you need to put your butt in chair (or stand up for those who like to go old school) and write.
Second, you need to reread and revise your book. Very rarely does every word that lands on the page deserve to be there. This is a good point to bring in critique partners, beta readers, and others you trust to provide feedback.
Third, you need to submit your work to professionals, such as agents and/or editors to find out if it is traditionally publishable.
Most writers probably love the first step... yeah, writing!
Some of us aren't as enthusiastic for the second step... revising? Really?
And a few of us are a bit intimidated by the idea of sending our words out into the world, fearing our books might get rejected.
However, you can't get published (traditionally) if you don't put yourself out there. You've got to risk rejection if you want to eventually hear:
, your book just sold!
Now, if you're like me. You might not want to go directly to agents or editors. Well, you're in luck. There is an option available to writers that is fun, community-building, and a little less stressful.
What is it? Writing Contests and pitch parties! That's right, during any given month there is a myriad of writing contests and pitch parties held around the internet on blogs, online magazines, Twitter, etc.
These offer writers the ability to put their stories out there and test the waters before sending the book off to professionals. Consider them your stepping stones to success!
I got my agent by participating in the Picture Book Party held over at Michelle4Laughs- It's In The Details. It wasn't my first contest, it was probably somewhere between my 6th and 12th. However, those first few failed contests taught me a lot about how to hone a pitch, perfect my writer's voice, and got me into contact with a lot of fellow writers who were in the same boat as me.
If you haven't tried a writer's contest or pitch party yet, I recommend giving a few of them a shot. You might not win any, but if you follow them closely, learn from the winners, make new friends, and grow as a writer, you'll eventually build up the confidence to start submitting to agents and editors.
If you're not sure where to start, one great resource for keeping track of upcoming writing contests and pitch parties is the Sub It Club. A great resource and community!
And if you want to get the opinion of a published author about whether your story is ready for submission, you can use Rate Your Story. The feedback I got from this site really helped me figure out which of my stories were the strongest and best to submit to contests.
Hope these websites help you like they did me.
PS: Are there any websites you recommend that helped you get ready to submit your stories to agents, editors, or contests?