Ten Things Every Writer Should Do Before They Publish

I am not published … yet. But I will be. Until then, I like to pretend I am and think about what kind of speech I would give at a writer’s conference or the type of post I would write for a guest blog spot that is booked through my PR person.

With my imaginary life in mind, here is a little gem I’ve come up with. It’s a list – one of my favorite things. I wonder if it will change when I’m finally published???

Ten Things Every Writer Should Do Before They Publish +one extra

(In random order)

  1. Get a rejection that hurts so bad you have to cry about it. (And okay, consider quitting writing too.)
  2. Get a rejection, read it objectively, take what you can from it and move on without a tear being shed.
  3. Go to a bookstore, stand in the romance section and figure out where your books will be shelved.
  4. Attend a writer’s conference.
  5. Pitch to an agent and/or editor at a writer’s conference.
  6. Claim you are quitting writing FOREVER! (But knowing on the inside you would never, ever be able to really quit.)
  7. Write something outside your usual genre and/or medium (examples: newspaper article, short story, blog post)
  8. Contemplate the idea that you were actually adopted and Nora Roberts, Janet Evanovich, Robin Carr, Susan Mallery, Debbie Macomber, etc. is your birth mother and that’s why you’re such an amazing writer yourself.
  9. Feel both jealous and ecstatic when your writer friend tells you good news – they just got a book deal, landed an agent, hit a bestseller list, etc.
  10. Read a bestseller by a very famous established author and think, “Psshaw, I could have written that in my sleep.”
  11. Cyber-stalk your writing hero!

Published writers and yet-to-be published writers unite! Any other items for this to-do list?

35 thoughts on “Ten Things Every Writer Should Do Before They Publish

  1. Great Post. And I like your optimism. You’re pr-published and it will happen soon. I’ve done all of these except 1, 6 & 8. And I didn’t just cyber-stalk my writing hero. I stalked her at RWA nationals too! I didn’t mean to, I swear. But everytime I went to the bathroom, or got a drink at the bar or went to an off-site restaurant, Gena Showalter was there. But that’s always the way Nationals works. Have you ever noticed there’s someone you keep running into without planning, but the people you want to see you keep missing?

    1. Absolutely, Lynne! But come on, you can admit to us that you were stalking Gena Showalter… we won’t tell! Ha-ha! 😉

  2. I like #10, I mean, I am not a writer but there are many times I am like – this person is publish??? I am mean, typos, lame storylines, horrible character names??? I am like, really, someone pays you for this? And I agree with Across The Room, #3 is awesome – Happy writing to all!

    1. Thanks, D!!! Remember that time we were in the ocean and stayed in there forever talking about a certain super famous person’s book and how disappointed we were! What happens in the ocean, stays in the ocean so shhhh!

  3. I can’t thank you enough, Kerri Mermaid, for creating this platform to come out…how can I not be the biological child of 70’s Peter Frampton and Sherrilyn Kenyon. (finally an explanation for my hair and odd fascination for roman generals and of course a love of writing!) I also believe Casey James is my long lost brother but anywho…I LOVE your list, Miss Most Fabulous Sparkly Pre-Published!

    Number 11, what’s that? Wouldn’t know anything about that one…. 😉

    1. Thanks Carlene-boo! The love child of Peter Frampton and Sherrilyn Kenyon? That’s why you’re MY hero! (Got ya again!)

  4. You are funny and wonderful and an inspiration, Kerri. Yay! You make me finish my work–and finishing is where is all starts, isn’t it?
    In the inimitable words of Cole Porter (try to hum):
    “You’re the top, you’re the Coliseum;
    You’re the top, you’re the Louvre Museum;
    You’re a Melody from a Symphony by Strauss;
    You’re a Bendel bonnet, A Shakespeare’s Sonnet;
    You’re Mickey Mouse…!”

    1. Ahhhh – I love this Daisy!!!

      In my ongoing quest to watch old musicals, I rented A Star is Born. Yet another depressing one. Jeez! We must discuss later!

  5. I adore your list. And I have done 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10 and 11. And may need to think about the adoption thing:).

    And yes, we are ore-published! But I believe your days on that list are very few.

    Great post, Mermaid Kerri!

    1. Thanks Denny-Mermaid! I actually believe your days are numbered. You are way too talented! 😉

  6. Kerri,
    You crack me up!!! I loved this post. I have done all of the above except the adoption one. And I can’t believe you even thought about this one. I mean, come on! Your mom??? I wouldn’t give her up even in daydreams about famous authors. 🙂
    I have to admit to stalking Kristan Higgins. Just a little bit. And not even because I planned to. It was exactly like Lynne said. She just kept showing up at the same places. Wait a cotton-pickin’ minute here. Maybe she was stalking ME! Hey! I had a famous, kick-butt author stalking me. This is exciting news. As I just finished her newest book “Somebody to Love”, this is even more exciting. LOL. If you haven’t read it yet, GET THEE TO A BOOKSTORE… PRONTO!
    I sure hope you don’t forget about the little people when you’re giving your big speech and grabbing your award. Remember us, Kerri. Remember us….

    1. 1. Totally have to get Kristan’s new book! Thanks for the reminder.
      2. HELLO – I totally read this list to my mom before I posted it. She, of course, thought it was fabulous and brilliant, as usual. And since she’s really into Robin Carr right now, she was pretty down with me being adopted by her.
      3. I’m going to stalk you this weekend at Retreat. Prepare ye-self! 😉

  7. So glad to know that there are others living in the same fantasy world! I sometimes envision being interviewed by Oprah who inspired by my cross-over book that has made her laugh and weep will promote me to hell and back. It gives me something to do when contest judges suggest books on writing that I should read. (sigh.) I write for a living just not fiction. (sigh.)

    1. I love living in a fantasy world! I welcome you to mine with open arms, where we are interviewed by Oprah on a daily basis. Big smoochies! 😉

  8. Love this list, Kerri! Can I live in your fantasy world, too?
    I would add to the list:

    12. Believe, deep down to your bones, that you will never, ever publish a novel

    13. Believe, deep down to your bones, that you are destined to be the next J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, Suzanne Collins, etc.

    1. My fantasy world is open to all applicants. It’s so glittery in here! 😉

  9. Kim…that comment made my day!! Although I did suggest that perhaps I was adopted and it was my biological mother who was the famous author!!!!
    I think you should also add signing your autograph to your list and coming up with some phrases to use. And this is a really important one….picking out your outfit(and accessories) for the jacket cover!

    1. You’re right, Ma. That is very important. We need to discuss my outfit choices STAT!

  10. Okay, I should special talent for 1. None for 2. Never did 3. Did 4,5, and 6 (for twenty years, except for Christmas card letters, which applies to 7. 8 is my biggest fear, except I look like my mother. I have special talent for 9, as I truly enjoy that kind of news! 10 is very hard for me when I see the book I was working on written better by a faster writer who I don’t know, and already on the shelf! And I steadfastly refuse to engage in 11.

    And, just so you know, you skipped “practice RITA award speech after each ceremony you attend, or whenever you choose to fantasize about your brilliant career.” Is that a secret number 12? You never know!

    1. You are right, Susan-Mermaid! You should always be prepared. I have practiced my Golden Heart, Rita and Oscar speeches many times! (Oscar because obviously my book will be turned into a movie and then I will write the adapted screenplay.)

      1. Very smart, Kerri Mermaid! I forgot to add Oscar acceptance to the list but, alas, that seems to be a skill I learned too well. Forgetting.

  11. Done many of them–not all. I do like to give Sherrilyn potholders and barbeque sauce whenever I see her (usually oven mitts with Diamond-eques and bbq sauce for the Simi). Or dress up like the Simi. So that might be kind of #11-ish. 🙂

    Here is something else to add: pretend to be a famous erotica writer incognito and dress up in vintage 1920’s-1940’s styles with the big hats and sunglasses (see my pic), having your picture taken with all your male cover models (or just J.T) standing around you like your a goddess. Or maybe that’s just me…lol 😉

  12. I KNOW you will be published!! and encourage you to keep writing!!! You are an amazing woman writer!!!

  13. I’ve put my book on the shelf at B&N and taken a picture. I did my first radio interview. Signing books and having people shove money at you is pretty cool, too… Kerri, look at all you have to look forward to!

  14. Awesome list! I’ve done all but 8, but that’s because my mother *was* a writer, and 10 had modification (I’ve been unhappy with successful books, but never thought I could do better in my sleep 🙂 ).

    Here’s a secret: All of those things *still happen* even after you’re published. Don’t know if I should add a 🙂 or 🙁 to go with that statement. LOL

  15. Kerri Mermaid, this list is FABULOUS. One and two are the most important. They never stop, do they? In publishing, or real life.

    The one item I would add to the list is to make friends–they are necessary to celebrate your accomplishments when you stupidly feel like you don’t deserve them, and to catch you when you fall apart. <3

    1. The best advice of all, this past weekend was the ultimate affirmation that friends make a lonely business bearable.

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