Sunday, January 4, 2009
Here is a tough one for you to accept; getting published should be somewhere down about the middle of your to do list!
It is always interesting to me to hear the excuses some potential authors give because they cannot seem get their work accepted by a publisher. They are always griping that they are getting rejection slips to every query letter they send. If I ask them why they think that is, the usual answer I get is, "I don't know." That, I tell them, is one of their biggest problems! They don't know!
"Whadda ya mean by that?" is the usual response to that statement. "Look," I would tell them, "have you ever considered the possibility that you have never taken the time to learn what is necessary to know if you are serious about getting your work published?" Unfortunately, to these people, that question is a rhetorical one because it is obvious they have not.
For most people becoming a published author infers an obligation upon the would be author, like any other field of endeavor, to know or learn what is necessary to play in that ballpark. Simple analogy; if you want to become a medical doctor you have to go to medical school.
Well, if you want to be a published author you have to be able to do more than put the words on a page to write a book and get it published! You must educate yourself to the requirements in the field.
First and foremost, you must learn to write a query letter in a manner that will make those overworked editors in the publishing houses perk up their eyes and want to continue reading. There is so much free information available on the net or in your local library about this subject that there is no excuse for anyone not to be able to learn to do it.
Along with this is being able to present your synopsis of your work. This is crucial if you want that editor to keep reading. He or she must see within the first few sentences that they will want to know more about your story. It must be concise, informative, and compelling. Again, the information a writer would need to learn how to do this is freely available on the net or in your local library.
Another item for this phase is the authors resume. This is something that should never, ever, be hyped--keep it factual. It's okay to emphasize any kudos you may have attained along the way, just don't overdo it.
If you get past this point and get a request for a sample of your material, you had better know how to edit. Unless your work is so unique that you capture the editors attention and imagination immediately, your work will very shortly be returned to you; that is if you included a postage paid return envelope.
Editing is not a one time thing--it is a process! It is something you can learn to do, or it is something you may have to pay to have done in a manner that will be acceptable to most publishers. Don't get me wrong on this aspect of writing. Most authors are generally not good editors of their work. But they can learn to get it to the point where a publisher will be willing to polish it up for publication. And again, there is ample information freely available to establish in the author a working knowledge of what is necessary to do a moderately good job of editing their work to the point of acceptability.
Then there is the homework factor the author must perform for his/her own basic knowledge of the publishing industry. Learning what the submission procedures are for the different publishing houses--learning which publishers prefer what genres. Learning which publishers are more prone to accept new authors, etc, etc. Doing your homework will always put you several steps ahead of those too lazy to do so.
Now we come to one of the parts of getting published that is one of the most overlooked aspects. NETWORKING! This Website is a great example of the potential help available to new authors, and some old ones too. I'm an old fart with a young mind, but I do have an advantage in this area. I have been in business for most of my adult working life, and have gained a real understanding of the value of networking with those who know the things I don't, and are willing to share their knowledge with me.
Most published authors are, usually, more than willing to share their experience and knowledge with those who are following them on the writers path. Most will do so willingly for those who show they are truly willing to learn. Networking provides a treasure trove of knowledge and insight for those willing to show that they can be deserving of it.
Now to the publisher?
Not quite yet. I would recommend that the best policy a new writer could establish for themselves is to have your work completed and as polished as possible. In addition, the author should have done enough homework along the way so they will be able to present their work in its best light, and to the best venue.
To those reading this. I have, of necessity, condensed a great deal of what I might have liked to say on the subject, but have covered the basics adequately. Your comments are, as always, welcome.
Contributing Author; J. A. DiSpada
Author, The Earth-Chai Saga – Book one – Waking The Dragon
Published – May, 2007
ISBN10: 14241527 55
ISBN13: 978-14241527 59
Awards - New Book Reviews .Org ‘Best New Book 2007’
Visit J.A.'s Web Page at http://balorsid.googlepages.com/home
Member – A Book Inside Forum at http://abookinsideforun.ning.com
Learn more about the writing and publishing maze by reading A Book Inside, How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Story available at Author’s Box or Amazon.com
Please leave your comments for J. A. DiSpada below.