How Can I Get Published?
These days, you don't need to wait for the agent fairy or the publisher to come knocking. You can do it yourself. But what most people actually mean: How can I see my work in print?
It is a buzz to see your book at the bookshop. I take photos of my baby, and post them on my website. How sad is that?
If this your dream, it can happen. Just don't expect it to be quick, or easy. Here's what worked for me...
9 Things That Worked for Me:
- A ton of hard work. I wrote on and off for about ten years before I got an acceptance. Over that time I wrote one novella, one novel, and many, many short stories.
- Write for free. I edited a professional magazine which gave me experience in working with deadlines, keeping to word counts, formatting documents.
- Join a writer's association. I joined the New Zealand Society of Authors. Associations like the NZSA often have mentoring programmes for new writers, or access to grants and competitions.
- Complete some formal training. I did a Certificate in Creative Writing at a local polytechnic. The polytec then closed the course (it didn't fit with their 'core direction', whatever that was), although my teacher has continued the classes privately. Here's the link to her site and no, she's not paying me!
- Develop networks. This sounds cheesy, but often in life it's not what you know, it's who you know.
- Submit to e-zines and small journals - see my last post
- Enter competitions. Comps can be expensive, so now I only enter those with that offer the opportunity to get my script read by a publisher, or that provide direct feedback on my script. The Romance Writers of America has some good ones, and my lucky break was with Storylines
- Keep writing. Evaluate critically. Write some more. When you feel it's good enough - and only then - begin submitting to agents or publishers.
- And finally, and this isn't something you can ever predict, you need to get lucky. Why was A Necklace of Souls accepted, when another person's might have been equally as good? I don't know. Maybe the commissioning editor liked fantasy. Maybe they were looking for a novel with a strong female protagonist. Maybe the stars had aligned.
So the key message here is:
- Be as good as you can
- A little bit of luck.
Finally, don't expect overnight success.
Actually, don't expect to make a living wage from writing, period. Treat it like a passion and then anything's a bonus.