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.
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?

About Rebekah

Rebekah Loper writes character-driven epic fantasy featuring resilient women in trying and impossible circumstances who just want to save themselves but usually end up saving the world, often while falling in love.
She lives in Tulsa, OK with her husband, dog, two formerly feral cats, a small flock of feathered dragons (...chickens. They're chickens), and an extensive tea collection. When she's not writing, she battles the Oklahoma elements in an effort to create a productive, permaculture urban homestead.