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Last week I attended a gathering for local Middle Grade and Young Adult authors at Tempe Public Library that has become a (roughly) bi-monthly group, all started by the wonderfully talented local author, Amy Trueblood (check out Amy’s incredibly candid and informative blog about querying, the traditional publishing process and more here!).

For this past meeting, four locally based, agented authors who are currently in the pipeline of publication (their books are being prepared for release by a traditional publishing house within the next few months or so) spoke to about 20 of us fellow Arizona-based authors about their experiences, the traditional publishing system as a whole, and lots of other incredibly useful and wonderful personal anecdotes about what it’s like to write a book, send it on submission, find an agent, etc.

There were a few things that really stood out to me during the discussion, things that I’m not sure a lot of beginning authors realize, and that self-published authors or those who have yet to query agents and traditional publishers might not know. Midnight Publishing has discussed some of the reasons why it’s so useful to join up with local authors in this past blog post, and I just want to reiterate some of the reasons why this local Arizona group is so wonderful for budding (and published) authors!

1. You are Not Alone in the Submission Process

Have you been querying your fantasy manuscript to agents for two years? Have you contacted over 100 agents for one manuscript? So have other authors in attendance (or more than that!). Often with writing and the process surrounding querying, it can feel like you’re alone, or that your situation is the exception (when really it’s the rule!). When you attend a group like this one, you are able to get a variety of personal stories about other querying experiences and gauge your next actions accordingly. For instance, perhaps you’ve been querying the same manuscript for several years to no avail, or only a few months and have felt the sting of repeated rejection. Those who have already been through the gauntlet can provide extremely valuable direction and feedback on your next steps (“start querying something new!” or “don’t give up yet, that sounds promising!”, etc.).

3 reasons #authors and #writers should consider joining an author's group. Share on X

2. You Have the Opportunity to Compare Agent and Publisher Practice Knowledge with Those Who Have More Experience in that Area

Another facet of the latest meeting that I found extremely informative were some suggestions about contractual agreements with agents and publishers. Those experienced authors in attendance who’ve worked with agents and publishers discussed various items such as the “first look” many publishers request of the next manuscript you want to sell traditionally—essentially if a publisher has bought your manuscript, they’ll often request to see your next book to option a purchase before anyone else can. Sometimes they’ll buy it, sometimes not—but this may hold up the process at times. It’s important to discuss many of these contractual inclusions with your agent before signing anything with a publisher so that your writing career is continuously kept on the trajectory you envision. The same goes for self-publishing—you must be extremely careful about self-publishing when you also have an agent and/or publisher; it’s not forbidden, but all boxes should be checked to ensure you’re not breaking any legal agreements. When you attend this local AZ YA Writers group, important issues like these are discussed so that writers can protect writers!

3. You are Nourishing Friendships with Those Who Know Exactly What It’s Like to be a Writer, and Can Support One Another Through Triumphs and Rejections!

As I mentioned, many of those in attendance have books that will be published in the near future or are currently querying a manuscript to agents or publishers. Attending these meetings and getting linked in with these fellow authors gives you many opportunities to attend book signings, see how various publishers support their authors, learn about which agents to query, and most importantly—support your fellow writers! For instance, several of those authors in attendance of the latest AZ YA Writers group have book releases coming up. Consider supporting these local authors of the AZ YA Writers group by preordering books, attending signings and more:

Abigail Johnson – If I Fix You

Book signing October 27th at Tempe Changing Hands Bookstore 7 p.m.

Stephanie Elliot – Sad Perfect

Preorder here on Amazon

Kate Watson – Seeking Mansfield

Debuts Spring 2017 – more info here!

Kelly DeVos – Fat Girl on a Plane

Follow her Facebook for updates on publication!

Midnight Publishing is an editing and ghostwriting company based out of Phoenix, Arizona, serving clients all over the world for nearly a decade. Whether self-publishing, querying or wanting help getting your writing ideas off the ground, Midnight Publishing is here to help. Contact us today for a free sample edit!