This post first appeared at blackanddarknight.wordpress.com on December 4, 2012.
Back in October , 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.
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.
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.