Yesterday I talked about some realities of publishers existing to make money, rather than existing just to publish your book/s. But if you’re a writer, what you want is for a publisher to want to make that money from publishing your book. So I thought it might be useful to share some simple ways you can increase your chances of getting published. So, here goes:
1. 1. Write. A lot. If you have written one draft of one book and are putting all your energies in to getting it published, you are probably on the wrong track. You need to write and keep writing. Multiple drafts of every story, and definitely more than one. And lots of stuff that will never be published but helps you refine your writing.
2. 2. Before you submit your work to a publisher make sure it is the best it can be. Write, rewrite, critique, rewrite again. This should happen before you start submitting – not after it is rejected. Let it rest before you send it out so you can reread and be really sure it’s as good as you can make it.
3. 3. Seek and listen to feedback on your writing – from reputable sources. NB – your friends, your parents, your children and your next door neighbour’s children, and especially your spouse are NOT reputable sources, even if they are very nice people. A reputable source is someone else who knows stuff about writing – a critique partner, perhaps a paid manuscript appraiser, a writing tutor. Note though that this feedback is for you – not for the publisher. Saying n your cover letter “My critique buddy thinks this is great” will not help your cause.
4. 4. Constantly improve your craft. Musicians practise away from the stage. Athletes train away from the arena. Writers must work to improve their skills by learning and by experimenting. Take a course, read a book, learn online, have fun with writing exercises.
5. 5. Lastly, know the industry and the market. Don’t submit to a publisher you haven’t taken the time to learn about. Don’t just google ‘publisher; and then submit to the first name that comes up. Before you submit your bookbaby to a publisher you should know what sort of books that publisher publishes, why they are a good match for your story and what their submission guidelines are.
Getting published is hard. Very hard. But submitting the right, well written, well-polished story to the right publisher will increased your chances of getting published immeasurably.