LESSON How To Get Published

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by Zen, May 22, 2013.

  1. Resource: How To Get Published

    I think one of the things I had to realize about the publishing industry is well... That it is an industry and it's a business. They are looking to make money and while it is very important to be a talented and skilled writer, it wouldn't hurt to approach your book or your written work as a a product to be marketed. I know, I wasn't very pleased with that thought, but just bare with me as I talk about this.

    Also as a disclaimer, I have not been majorly published. As of writing this, the only thing I've gotten published is a short story in my college's Literary Journal. The knowledge I get about the publishing industry comes from talking to my professors, reading about it through books and online articles and really just sticking my nose into every bit of information I could find.

    What You Need to Do to Get Published

    1) Finish your work. Well duh! You can't get published if you don't have any material. If you truly want to see your work out there, you will do everything in your power to ensure that it gets done. Why? Because you're a writer that's why!

    2) EDIT EDIT AND MOAR MORE EDIT! Proof read the crap out of your work. It is also good to take your eyes away from your piece for a short period of time. Sometimes it helps to look at it with a rejuvenated perspective. Even if it makes you cringe and writhe, have someone you trust read over your work. Make sure they actually read it and give you good feedback. What do I mean by good feedback? They can't lie, they must be honest. Now this doesn't mean they can rip your work into shreds, but they must be able to critique your grammar, spelling, sentence fluency, your story/plot/character development. And more importantly, they must be able to ask questions! Perhaps you missed a plot hole in your story and this trusted reader of yours caught it. Editing helps to avoid those major oopsies! And publishing companies DO NOT like getting manuscripts that look like rough drafts. Again, EDIT THE CRAP OUT OF YOUR WORK.

    3) Establish your Genre and Audience. What is a genre? A genre is a class of category of artistic endeavor having a particular form, content, technique - BLARGH FANCY SMANCY!!!

    Think about genres like this.

    You have Literature. Think of Literature as a tree. A tree has roots and what make up the roots are the genres. Examples of genres are Modern, Fantasy, Steampunk, Romance, Fiction, Non-fiction and so on. Point is, genres are categories. The same concept can be applied to movies and music.

    What does this have to do with your work? It matters because some publishing companies only publish certain genres. It is completely pointless for you to send in a work of non-fiction to a company that publishes poetry and and fiction.

    It is also important to establish your audience. Are you writing for little kids that are just learning the English language? Probably best that you don't write a giant novel for them. Instead, give them a picture book. Your writing style and voice will more than likely change depending on which age group you're targeting. Subject matter will change too. Read: Sex does not sell in a children's book, trust me! This also helps the publisher and marketing team come up with ways to sell your book.

    Avenues for Publishing:

    1) You can start looking at major publishing companies like Random House or Penguin Group. However companies as big as these don't normally take manuscripts out of the blue. They want you to have a literary agent.

    What is a literary agent? Basically this is someone who acts on behalf of the author in dealing with publishers and others involved with promoting the author's work. They're the middle man.

    Also note that a lot of publishing companies want you to submit a cover/submission letter to go along with your manuscript. It can be a very extensive letter, and they will likely ask for a synopsis for the story, what are your credentials, what have you worked on, and why the company should publish your work.

    If you're serious about getting published, consider looking through The Writer's Market. Or you can look through their book 2013 The Writer's Market. I haven't subscribed to their online services, but I have looked through the book and it is absolutely fantastic. Oh and it's huge; you're definitely your money's worth. The book is broken up into sections based on literary agents, publishes, genres, and has many, many guides on writing and promoting your work. It's only 20 bucks on Amazon and I'm looking to buy myself a copy in the next year. You can also look through The Literary Market Place, which is a listing of literary agents.

    2) Self Publishing. Before this avenue of publishing as viewed as tacky and unprofessional. You can thank the internet for making this possible for indie publishers and authors. You can self publish through Amazon, or you can a gander at various other website: Lulu Blurb Self Publish, Be Happy.

    Depending on the contracts - you need to work with a company to make the books of course - your royalties will fluctuate. I've heard of a $8 dollar book selling and you get $2 in profits. Remember that if you choose this avenue you look at the fine print. Same thing with the large publishing companies.

    3) Literary Journals. These are like magazines filled with short stories and poems. These are not novels, instead they are made possible with contributing authors. Literary journals are everywhere. They can be at your school campus or university, and there can be huge ones like Paris. I'm not gonna bother giving you guys links to these journals because there are so many, and they are so versatile. Just do a Google search and you'll definitely find something. Just remember to submit content that is relevant to what the journals are asking for and pay attention to location. Also be aware that some journals will take publishing rights over your work, so keep track of where you're submitting because you could get into hot water if you submit a story that another literary journal already has.

    4) Magazines. So we're moving away from publishing your own creative work to producing stuff about current events and trends.

    Why is this important? Because it gets your name out there. Again, people want to see what you've worked and your credentials. Magazines are a good way to start. More than likely if you're writing for a magazine you are doing it as a free lance writer. No this does not mean you will be getting benefits. No you won't be getting a steady pay. And no you probably won't become an overnight sensation. But remember, if you really want to make this your career, you will keep working at it. And yes, there are some magazines out there who do hire full time writers and editors.

    5) Journalism. Same thing like I said about magazines. It's all about getting your name out there. There is also a huge benefit to journalism. Because you are out there researching, talking to people and learning about the world around you, you are gaining life experiences. And life experiences help you write better. So think of this as a way to boost your career. If you wish to become a journalist, you will definitely need a Bachelor's Degree in either Journalism, English or Communications. There is a chance you could start your career without these because really what matters is content and how you present it, but the chances are slim. Like contributing magazine writers, you will start as a free lance writer and then become full time. Be aware though, there will be lots of deadlines in this career path, possibly some all nighters, and waking up in the dead of night to cover a story. Be prepared with some coffee on hand.

    6) Blogging. Ah! The newest publishing avenue to hit the scene since well... The last decade or so. Blogging is interesting because anyone can do it. You don't need a degree, you just need an internet connection, a keyboard, Writing skills, and stuff to write about. People use blogs in many different ways. If you're like me, you probably blog for the hell of it and hope something good comes your way. Companies ranging from publishers to news companies and your grocery store will use blogs to promote their products. Authors do the same thing!

    Where can you blog? You can use Tumblr, which is essentially a photo blog. You can find some people who actually write out their blogs, but again, mostly photos. There is also WordPress and Blogger, which isn't as popular as Tumblr, but they cater to those of us who like to write. And if you have a little extra cash, you make your own blogging website and customize it. Blogs take a lot of work and time! Not only do you have to produce content, but you have to network with other bloggers and readers to get a following.

    Have any questions? I know this was a long resource, but I figured I'd share with you guys what I learned through my Creative Writing class.
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  2. Also. Network, Network, Network.

    Do you have a friend who has a friend who has a cousin that works in the publishing industry? Make that connection happen, meet them, make a great impression. In the larger industries, often it's more about who you know rather than how good your work is...

    You could pump out a masterpiece...but if no one reads that masterpiece, it's all for naught.
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