- First of all, write in a genre you feel strongly about. If you hate sci-fi and don’t read it, don’t write a book on it. It seems simple enough, but you would be surprised how many people try to write what’s “popular” instead of what they love.
- Finish your manuscript. So many people can write a good first chapter, or even a good one hundred pages, but don’t finish the book. You can’t publish what you don’t finish. Persevere and finish your novel.
- Join a writers’ group. Let others read your manuscript and give you some good honest feedback. It may be hard to hear at first, but in the long run it could make your manuscript stronger. Some people also hire an editor to go over the manuscript to make sure it is at its best when it is submitted. This is a good idea, and I recommend it, but make sure you are with a reputable company.
- Don’t get discouraged. I think discouragement is the bane of every writer’s existence. With a hectic home life sometimes I don’t get a lot of writing done in a day or week and I get discouraged on if I will ever finish anything. Or I read a bad review and wonder if everyone thought my book was awful and were just too nice to tell me. Discouragement is easy to fall into, and I know it sounds trite, but keep going and don’t quit!
- Read a lot of books in your intended genre. Familiarize yourself with the market and what is selling/what publishers are buying.
- Go to conferences. Conferences are a great way to network with other authors and to meet publishers and agents. It is well worth your time and effort.
- Start the submission process. Whether you are submitting to agents or publishing houses, be sure to go to their website and follow their guidelines.
- Develop a thick skin. More often than not you will get a rejection letter. If there are any comments on the letter, take the advice, look and see if changes can be made to the manuscript and send it out again. Don’t let one rejection be the end of your publishing career! It’s merely a speed bump. I am ashamed to admit I almost let the rejections stop me. I was just so discouraged and put the manuscript under my bed, sure it wasn’t fit to be published if three houses rejected it, but a year later a friend of mine kept hounding me about it, so I dusted it off, made some changes, submitted and was offered a contract. I wish I hadn’t wasted all that time wallowing in pity and had submitted again right away! So keep going. Your work will find a home.
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