When I first began to write children’s books, I thought that it would be easy to get published. Boy was I wrong! Now, fifteen years later, I have learned a few things. Listed below are fourteen points about writing and getting published that I think you will find helpful.
1. You have to want to write. It has to be so important that you can’t give it up.
2. You have to write about what you like and what you know. That’s where your best writing will come from.
3. You have to spend a great deal of time honing your writing skills and learning to write the best that you can. This process may involve writing classes, critique groups, help from free-lance editing services, professional organizations, and of course writing and rewriting.
4. Read, read and read some more. Read every type of book, magazine, online articles or any other type of written word that you can. Get a feel for writing styles and what makes an author’s writing interesting or worth the read. It is especially important to read the types of articles or books that are similar to what you are writing. Find out what makes a book a best seller or why certain articles are so popular.
5. You must use every opportunity to write, any place you can find: a personal diary, letters to your local newspaper, book reviews on Amazon, a critique of someone else’s work, blogs, or any type of writing you enjoy. Don’t overlook any opportunity.
6. Learn to write a good synopsis and query letter before you submit. A good presentation of yourself and your work will get you in the front door.
7. Before you submit your finished book, article or poem, make sure it is your very best. You usually only get one chance. Make it count!
8. When you get a rejection slip from an editor, especially online, contact that person and ask what he or she didn’t like about your book, article or poem. Many times the editor will email you back with honest, helpful remarks. When you get the same types of remarks from several different editors, take it seriously.
9. You have to develop a thick skin and learn to accept constructive criticism as a good thing. It is your friend not your foe.
10. The publishing business is all business. It is about making money. A publisher will publish your book or article because it is well written and because it will sell.
11. Research each publisher before you submit. Learn the types of books that they publish and if your book fits their mold. You may get a rejection slip from a publisher because it isn’t what they publish. Be sure you know before you submit.
12. All publishers are hard to please. Whether it’s a big name publisher or a small independent one, it’s extremely difficult to know what they want and how they want it. The ones that accept your work, without question, are either vanity presses, that require you to pay them, or a publisher that has highly questionable business practices.
13. If you want to publish your work through an E-Book Publisher, Print-on-Demand or Vanity Press, check them out first. The best way to do that is through various online writing sites such as Preditors and Editors, Piers Anthony, Absolute Write, Writer Beware and others. You can also put in their name, plus the word scam, in Google or Yahoo and see what you come up with. One other way to check out a publisher is to contact some of their authors. I have done that many times and usually gained useful knowledge by contacting them.
14. Be persistent and don’t ever give up! No matter how discouraged or how disgusted you get, don’t let your dream slip away. Learn from your mistakes and move on!