Now that I know my characters live happily ever after (or not – you didn’t think I was going to give away the ending, did you?) it’s time to navigate the next step.

You should know, despite all the horror stories I’ve read about how difficult it is to find an agent, I still believe I can do this in my lifetime.  This is a step-by-step process requiring research, discipline, optimism and luck.  I can do this.

I read recently that it helps to set a goal for your writing.  What is it I want? To write a best seller?  To have books printed for family and friends?  To produce one book per year?  To meet Oprah? What is it?  What do I want?

I want to make money telling stories.  There.  I’ve said it.  There are “jobbing actors” who make a decent living delivering one line and a withering stare on CSI: Miami.  I want to be a “jobbing writer.”

From learning about my characters to learning about World War II, I have loved everything about the process.  Even the critiques that made me wince with pain.  Loved it.  Can’t wait to start the next one – it’s already chomping at the bit.

So – to make that goal a reality, what is the next step?

Polish, polish, polish.  When those agents ask for the first fifty pages, I will send the most perfect first fifty pages they’ve ever seen. The paper will be crisp, white and unstained. Once I get them reading, they’ll find no misspelled words, no misplaced commas, no syntax errors to distract them from Maggie’s story.

And while I’m polishing and taking critique from the brave souls who have volunteered to read the manuscript for me, I’ll begin work on the ‘business end’ of writing.  I need to do three things:

  • Compile a list of agents appropriate for my work
  • Find comparison titles
  • Learn how to write the best query letter
  • Write a chapter summary, a short synopsis and a long synopsis.

All right. Yes, technically. I have six things to do. But I can do this.  One step at a time.