Wednesday, June 26, 2013

12 The Road to Publication by Liz Fichera

Today's WOW Wednesday post is by Liz Fichera. Liz is an American author living in the American Southwest by way of Chicago. She writes stories about ordinary teens who do extraordinary things. Her contemporary YA debut HOOKED from HarlequinTEEN is available in bookstores now. Its companion, PLAYED, will be released in June 2014.


When I look back on all the stuff that was firing at me during the time I was trying to figure out how to go from being a writer to a published author, I can think of 10 key things that were the most helpful in the road to publication:

1) Not all rules were meant to be followed. In other words, just because one publishing path worked for one person doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for another. Be flexible. Be open. Investigate all publishing options, be it traditional or self-publishing or a combination of both. For me, I chose the traditional route.

2) If choosing a literary agent, choose wisely. Use all the resources available to investigate before you query—Query Tracker, Publishers Marketplace, Writers Market, other writers, etc.—to research the agent and literary agency that will be right for you. Remember: you should choose an agent with whom you can have a long-term relationship, someone who’ll stick by you when/if your first book doesn’t sell or doesn’t sell right away. Make sure you’re choosing someone with a track record of sales. If you’re choosing an agent that’s new to the business, make sure it’s someone with an established agency. If that agent maintains a blog (and most of the good ones do), follow it to get a feel for the agent’s style and personality.

3) Keep writing. Always be thinking about (and writing) your next book and your next book after that, even as your book goes out on submission. Your sanity will thank you.

4) Write every day. Enough said.

5) Make sure to have a life outside of writing. Oftentimes when you get sucked into your story and you can’t seem to break away from your laptop, remember it’s important to stay connected—with family, with friends, with other writers, with your pets—whoever makes you happy.

6) Don’t follow trends. In other words, don’t just write a werewolf book because werewolves are the cat’s meow at the moment. Write what’s in your heart. Trends come and go. Maybe you’ll write something new and exciting that’ll start the next trend! Be bold.

7) Pay it forward. The publishing world is small and karma is very real. Be kind. Be a human being. Get to know your fellow writers and others who work in the publishing community—editors, agents, bloggers. Help where/when you can. You’ll be glad that you did.

8) Social media, it’s here whether you like it or not. Establish yourself in all of the usual places but, for the love of god, do not spam people. Do not talk to people as “followers.” You’re not building a cult. You’re trying to foster relationships. If you can’t have fun at it, don’t do it.

9) Have at least one critique partner. And, no, I do not advise that the one person is your mother. She’ll love everything you write. You need someone who can give you honest and constructive feedback.

10) If you don’t love writing stories, choose another profession. You’ve got to love what you do, particularly in this field. Whoever said that you needed thick skin to survive wasn’t kidding.

About the Author
Liz Fichera was born and raised in Park Ridge, Illinois. She moved to Phoenix, Arizona, after college, never expecting to live more than one year among cactus and people who’d never seen snow. She was wrong. It certainly didn't hurt that she met her future husband in Phoenix too.

Most of her stories are set in the American Southwest because she thinks the desert is a cool place. Living in Phoenix, she's surrounded by Native American culture and influences, not to mention intriguing Hohokam petroglyphs and centuries-old canals. There are over 20 tribes in Arizona and she's lucky to be neighbors to the Gila River and the Salt River Indian Communities.

When she's not busy writing her next novel, she likes to travel, visit museums, support local theater productions, hike, and pretend that she's training for a triathlon. She posts a lot of photos from her desert and mountain hikes on her Facebook and Twitter pages. In no particular order, she's been chased by javalinas, rattlesnakes, coyotes, and even one curious black bear.

Visit Liz's website
Check out Liz's blog

About the Book

Get hooked on a girl named Fred…

HE said: Fred Oday is a girl? Puh-leeze. Why is a girl taking my best friend's spot on the boys' varsity golf team?

SHE said: Can I seriously do this? Can I join the boys' team? Everyone will hate me—especially Ryan Berenger.

HE said: Coach expects me to partner with Fred on the green? That is crazy bad. Fred's got to go—especially now that I can't get her out of my head. So not happening.

SHE said: Ryan can be nice, when he's not being a jerk. Like the time he carried my golf bag. But the girl from the rez and the spoiled rich boy from the suburbs? So not happening.

But there's no denying that things are happening as the girl with the killer swing takes on the boy with the killer smile…

Buy Hooked on Amazon
Find Hooked on Goodreads


  1. Paying it forward is so important. Wish I'd been better prepared with more stories though. (Never planned on more than one!)
    Great tips, Liz.

    1. I couldn't agree more on giving back! And no one can fault you for being humble. :)

  2. All good advice. And I do sort of hate it when I see people talk about their "followers". I mean, I guess it's technically correct, but I prefer to call them friends or readers. :)

    1. That's a great point. Followers is a strange term, isn't it? It can completely misconstrue the relationship of trust that we have with the people who have come to expect a certain type of content and conduct from us, as well as the fragility of that relationship.

  3. Great list. Thanks for sending it to us.

  4. Thanks for inviting me to blog with you today. And thanks for the kind comments! :)

    1. Thank you for being here, LIz! This is a fantastic post. I love all the ten tips, but the pay it forward one is what really resonates for me. There is such a host of people who helped me reach the point of being ready for publication, and I can never repay what they have done. All I can do is give back to the people who are in the same place I was.

      Finding the right agent is another thing that resonates. I know so many writers who have found agents and then been disappointed, not just because the agent didn't sell the book, but because the agent did things in a way that made it harder, if not impossible, for the book to sell. It takes the heart straight out of a writer. It has to be a good fit for both the agent and the writer.

    2. Martina, there is this myth that once you find an agent, that your book will sell automatically and then the heavens will open and the birds will sing your praises. For most (I would say at least 95% of authors), this is so not true. It's very possible your book will not sell at all--or at least not right away. My first book did not sell right away; in fact, I wrote 3 more books before it finally sold. Fortunately I found an agent who stuck by me and believed in my writing. It's kind of like a marriage: you have to find someone who'll (hopefully) stick by you through thick and thin, good times and bad. :)

    3. You are absolutely right, Liz. Having an agent who believes in the writer even more than the book is key. And that's where really taking the time to make sure the relationship is a good fit is critical. I love the way you liken it to a good marriage. And it does take care and feeding, and great communication, on both sides to keep it healthy. :)

  5. Love the line about followers and a cult. Never thought of it that way.

    1. It is brilliant, isn't it? And the truth is that a cult will follow you no matter what. People who follow us on Twitter or any other social media do so because they expect us to do something. It's incredibly easy to lose their trust by not living up to their expectations.


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