May 23, 2016
Every successful writer starts in the same place–the beginning. Then each one takes his or her own journey to create a writing career. That said, however, there are some basics you’ll want to know to help you make your first sale in your writing career.
- Remember that writing fiction differs from writing nonfiction. Fiction writers think of a story line, develop the characters, write the story/novel, then search for an agent or publisher. Nonfiction writers decide which categories they’re interested in (self-help, profiles, business, etc.), then look for markets that buy those topics, then query those markets. It’s also a good idea to get the writer’s guidelines for any market you’re interested in selling to and write to that market’s preference. Many markets post their writer’s guidelines online.
- Develop your ideas, then target each idea to a specific market that buys/publishes that type of idea. You might start with publications you like to read and consider if your idea is appropriate for them.
- Know that publishing is business, not dream fulfillment, so use common sense as you develop your relationships with publishers/editors/agents. Keep in mind that you’re developing a career/business when you’re offering to sell your writing.
- Avoid taking rejection personally. Rejection simply means you didn’t match your idea to the what your potential customer is looking for at the moment. Think of your query letter as one of many applications for a position. Your query letter is asking for a position in a published work just as an application is asking for a position in a company.
- Remind yourself that you can’t get published if the marketplace doesn’t know you exist. Be persistent in submitting appropriate ideas to appropriate markets. Of course if you submit inappropriate ideas (such as how to ice fish to a home decorating magazine), you will be rejected. Better to take the time to find markets (again, this includes magazines, agents, book publishers) that publish what you write, then submit your ideas to those markets.
I know these are basics, but it never hurts to get back to basics. Happy writing!
May 2, 2016
Imagine going to your computer one morning and you can’t do anything but look at the last thing displayed on your screen. You call your computer support and get in the queue. Eventually you learn your hard drive needs replacing (which explains why everything has slowed significantly the three weeks prior).
Then, yippee! He replaces the hard drive and brings it back with all your files. Now all you have to do is reconfigure everything (the software is upgraded to the newest version) to your personal preference.
The previous two paragraphs are just to let you know why I haven’t posted in weeks.
Now I’m functional once again and am thankful to be back. Here are some more tips to encourage you to keep writing.
- Realize publishing works within a system and you need to work within that system if you want to be published.
- Attempt to see the publisher’s side of any dispute you may have. That doesn’t mean the publisher is always right, but it does mean you’ll broaden your perspective before making your final decision on the dispute. Publishing is business, not dream fulfillment, which means publishers are concerned with making a profit (even self-publishers have this concern).
- Understand that persistence is an absolute requirement in getting published. Don’t give up before your opportunity arrives.
- Appreciate that the publisher’s first focus is the publisher, not the writer, which means you need to make decisions that are best for you and your career and the publisher must do the same for their business interests.
- Write what you write. Don’t rewrite what someone else has already said. Be original and you’ll become indispensable since only you write what you write.
- Stay confident in yourself and your writing. If someone reads your writing and suggests a way to improve it, don’t think your writing isn’t worthy. Instead, be glad someone thought enough of it to help you make it even better.
- Be stubborn. Keep writing. Keep learning. Don’t let strangers (editors) dictate your writing career. If an editor rejects you, try determine why (could be you didn’t follow the genre rules or you didn’t build bridges between chapters or any number of reasons). After trying to see the editor’s view, keep submitting other places. You can’t get published unless publishers know you exist.
- Encourage yourself. Get up in the morning, greet yourself with a positive greeting such as, “Good morning, good looking.” After your morning ritual (whatever that is), give yourself a pep talk about your writing and what you’re going to do that day to build your writing career.
Pick through the tips above and figure out which ones work for you. Post them by your computer (or wherever you write) if it will help you. The important thing is you keep writing because only you can say what you have to say in your voice. Happy writing!