BDN Archive – Being Ready to be Published – Notes from Daniela Rapp

This post first appeared at on December 4, 2012.Being Ready to be Published - Notes from a Daniela Rapp workshop |

Back in October [2012], I attended the Ozark Creative Writers Conference.  Daniela Rapp, an editor with St. Martin’s Press, spoke there.  While she represents mostly genres that I don’t even think about writing, she gave a very good workshop on the basics of publishing – things that apply no matter what you’re writing.

This post is compiled from my notes of that workshop. 

How to be ready to be published

1. Research the publishing industry.
  • Rapp specifically mentioned the New York Times Book Review podcasts.
  • Find out who’s who in the industry.  Watch authors you like and see who they talk about when it comes to their books.
2. Research your market/genre.
  • Find out who the best-selling authors and books are in the genres you write.
  • Read.
3. Don’t be motivated by fame or money.
  • Less than 5% of writers make a living from writing alone.
4. Marketing is not a “necessary evil” – it’s how books are sold these days.
  • You must build relationships.
5. Know that getting published takes time.
  • At minimum, 1 1/2 years.
  • Be patient, don’t whine.
  • The publishing house is your team, but they are not your employees.
  • Don’t throw a hissy fit about edits.  If you’re hard to work with, your reputation WILL precede you when you go to publish again, even if it isn’t with the same house.
  • Become a good re-writer.
  • Be honest about time limits.  If something is going to take you a while, be upfront about it.
  • Have a good attitude.
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6. Think of writing as a career.
  • Always have an answer to the question “What are you working on?”
7. Be an expert in your area.
  • Know your genre and your research material.

Even taking the self-publishing route, becoming published is a long journey. Partly because you’re responsible for all of the back-end yourself, whether that means self-editing, or finding an editor you can work with, etc.

Which of these do you struggle with the most? What surprised you the most?

What do you think?