A Writer’s Best Friend is Google

18 Nov

As an author, I LOVE helping fellow writers. In fact, I encourage writers to message me whenever they want with whatever questions they have. But don’t forget, folks.

Google is your best friend.

Recently, maybe due to NaNoWriMo, I’ve received A LOT more messages than usual. The most common one: “How can I get my book published?”

When I search “How can I get my book published?” on Google, the first three articles are actually pretty legit. One is about how to self-publish on Amazon. Another is a list of self-publishing tips by Forbes Magazine. The third is a step-by-step guide on how to get traditionally published. (No results were vanity presses, yay!) My favorite article that popped up toward the top was Start Here: How to Get Your Book Published by Jane Friedman.

If the writers who had emailed me had Googled their question first, they would’ve had these amazing articles at their fingertips…and as much as I wish I could deliver long, thoughtful pieces every time someone messaged me, I simply don’t have the time. I will ALWAYS try to point you in the right direction, but honestly, Google is often better.

Whether I’m researching publishing news or searching for information I’ll use in my books, Google is almost always open on my computer.

Don’t get wrong, though. I get it. I do. Publishing is hard. And there is so much information out there that it can be overwhelming/contradictory/seemingly impossible to navigate on your own. But guess what? 

Learning how to navigate your publishing journey is going to be key to your success.  

Why do I say that? Because I’ve been there. Publishing has confused the hell out of me, too. And I still have days where I get confused, because aspects of publishing constantly change. Knowing how to research and determine what is true/false/helpful/scam is going to save you a lot of time and pain. Asking others might not always work, because others also fall for false information and scams, so you need to be able to sift through information to form your own opinions. But don’t worry. You don’t have to navigate everything alone.

No one can get a book published by themselves. It takes a team to get a book from an idea to a draft to an editor’s pick to a novel on a shelf. There’s beta readers, proofreaders, sensitivity readers, reviewers, and more that will help you get from step one to step infinity. So you will need writer friends. You will even need their help. But before you message an author/editor/publisher, try to answer the question yourself. Why? Because you’ll probably find the answer to “How do I get my book published?” but then come across publishers that—no matter how much you research—you’re still unsure about. THAT is the perfect time to message a fellow writer (preferably a writer who is associated with said publisher) and ask them if they recommend that house.

If you are reaching out, specifics are a lot easier to answer. “Would you recommend this publisher?” is easier for me to give my opinion on than when I’m asked “What type of publishing should I go for?” A lot of questions I’m asked are, quite frankly, not answerable by anyone other than that writer. Choosing how to publish is a very personal choice. I can’t make that decision for you, no matter how much I want to help.

Show initiative in your pursuit of publication. Be brave. Research. But don’t read this article and think you can never reach out ever again.

If you were about to message me about how to publish, I won’t bite your head off. (Maybe just your fingers.) And I’ll still try to point you in the right direction—though there are lots of directions to consider.

Here are some of my favorite resources for writers.

Writer’s Digest: The go-to online resource for writers. If you’re starting out, set a goal to read a couple articles once a week.

Publishers Marketplace: This lists current sales and other important publishing news. Some pages on this website cost money, so if you can’t afford it, sign up for Publisher’s Lunch, which is free.

Janet Reid: She blogs every day about various topics and creates an amazing community of writers to rally behind. I still read her blog every day. It’s how I start my morning.

Pub Rants: A blog by Nelson Literary Agency. One of my all-time favorites. Her Agenting 101 class caught my eye in 2006, and I’ve been following it ever since.

BookEnds Literary Blog: Another blog from a literary agency. They talk about lots of topics as well, but mainly about getting agents and the publishing process afterward.

Query Shark: For learning how to query.

Query Tracker: For keeping track of querying. (This website is free, but you can also pay $25 per year to look at extra information.)

An Alliance of Young Adult Authors: Lots of helpful tips from fellow YA writers, whether you’re self-publishing or going traditional.

Oh! And right here. I try to blog about various writing and publishing topics every single Saturday. Use the search bar at the top of this page to look up topics I’ve discussed in the past. (Because, trust me, I’ve been blogging since 2012, I’ve probably covered it.)

If you have a topic you want to see me blog about, I always take suggestions. I’ll even blog about a topic I’ve discussed before if the article is outdated and/or not detailed enough. (And, yes, you can send the suggestion via email.)

But while you’re online, I suggest opening Google and becoming best friends again.

I think you’ll love the friendship more than you know.

~SAT

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10 Responses to “A Writer’s Best Friend is Google”

  1. josiesvoice November 18, 2017 at 2:30 am #

    Google is also your virtual librarian whether you need to research on any particular topic that you want to write about—-future book, thesis or term paper.

    • Shannon A Thompson November 18, 2017 at 2:47 am #

      YES. There are countless .edu websites (and other websites) that can help anyone with every topic. While writing my first historical, I even took a virtual tour through a museum countries away from me. It was awesome. Great point!
      ~SAT

      • josiesvoice November 18, 2017 at 4:49 am #

        Shannon, I just hope that the local librarians don’t lose their jobs because of this automation age. I can see how they have to be computer-savvy these days just to keep a job. This goes true for most jobs anyway. I still prefer the human interaction even if its just a phone customer service line, IMO.

      • Shannon A Thompson November 18, 2017 at 5:16 am #

        I don’t think they will. I still attend libraries to get help and find books. 😊 There’s always something someone will need help with.
        ~SAT

  2. The Animation Commendation November 18, 2017 at 10:24 am #

    Note to Self: “Befriend the Google.”

  3. debyfredericks November 18, 2017 at 10:47 am #

    My thought is that people want to ask questions of a live human being before a computer. They’ve had some sort of contact with you. They trust you as someone who knows the field, and so they reach out to you.

    Add to that, many of us are suspicious of online information. Especially when you’re talking about older people who didn’t grow up in an electronic world. There’s a great awareness of false stories circulating virally, so they hope to get true information from a real person.

    Of course, all the articles you listed were written by real people, too.

    Your point is valid, however, that each writer has to take responsibility for doing their own research and learning how to assess online information. We writers can be inundated with advice and suggestions, some we asked for and some we did not ask for. It can be confusing.

    But now you have a great blog post and you can send them the link!

    • Shannon A Thompson November 18, 2017 at 2:07 pm #

      Absolutely! I completely understand preferring people over the internet. I often do as well. But, as you said, we also have to embrace researching ourselves. Thank you for reading and commenting!
      ~SAT

  4. Don Massenzio November 19, 2017 at 8:38 am #

    Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio.

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  1. Google for fiction writers. – L.F. McCabe – Author - November 18, 2017

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