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  • Writer's pictureJanette Johnson Melson

Step 3 - So You Want to Publish a Novel?

Updated: Mar 22, 2020

If you’ve read any of my other blogs so far, you know that I have wanted to be a published author since I was six years old. And you also know why it has taken me almost 50 years to actually begin the process. However, once I finally decided to face my fears and discover what it would actually take to get published, the number one thing which really got the ball rolling was attending 2018’s American Christian Fiction Writer’s (ACFW) national conference in Nashville. Because of my English/journalism degree and years of working as a newspaper reporter and editor, I thought I would have a leg up on this novel-writing business. And maybe I do, but it sure didn’t feel like it. I came away from that conference feeling energized and excited but a little overwhelmed as well. My number one goal, though, was to establish my brand as an author by designing a website with a blog, creating a new author Facebook page, and designing an e-newsletter. And though it took longer than I thought it would, I accomplished that with the official launch of all three of those things last year! And now, I have a second conference, which was in San Antonio in 2019, under my belt also. To me, these conferences have impacted my author journey in such positive ways. So, I would definitely encourage you to attend one. You don’t have to attend a national conference the first time around; there are also lots of smaller, regional ones. A simple Google search of writers’ conferences will give you an abundance of choices. I do think it’s wise to get recommendations from authors you know. That’s how I got plugged into ACFW. A friend of a friend—Christian romance writer, Tamera Alexander—is the one who recommended ACFW to me. It is the only one I can speak to from personal experience, but it is phenomenal! For your registration fee, you get two meals and a minimum of four workshops per day, plus the opportunity to meet with at least one agent or editor. It can be like drinking from a fire hose, but each time I have come away with a wealth of knowledge, which helps me to be a better writer, and a renewed spirit, which helps me to be a better Christian and person. Not only will you learn a lot about writing, marketing and publishing; but you will also meet like-minded people who truly “get” you as a Christian author. And there is nothing quite as comforting as being with people who understand some unique aspect of your personality. It can also be a very spiritual experience, as well as educational, if you allow it to be.

As always, feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below. I won’t promise that I will know the answers; but I will promise to help you find them. And in the meantime, keep plugging away at your literary masterpiece and learning about your craft!

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