12 Quick Tips to Help You Get Published:
1. READ! Be familiar with the classics in your genre and keep up-to-date with what is popular now. Check with your local bookseller or librarian for guidance.
2 KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE Volunteer to read your work in public to your intended audience — perhaps at a library or school. When are they rapt with attention? Take note and make revisions accordingly.
3. DEVELOP YOUR CRAFT – Take a class, join a writer’s group; work with an editor. Check out these tips for writers from Harold Underdown, a veteran book editor: http://www.underdown.org/basic-articles.htm
4. VISIT THE BOOKSTORE – Look for books that are most like the ones you would like to publish. Who is the publisher? Look them up online or in Writer’s Marketplace. What are their current submission guidelines? Read their other books so that you are familiar with their line. Attend book signings and readings for inspiration. Network with your local booksellers and writing and reading community.
5. THROW OUT YOUR FIRST CHAPTER — Make your opening dynamic and compelling. Grab your reader’s attention. You might want to begin your story in the middle of some action; you can fill in with exposition later in the story.
6. BACK UP YOUR WORK – If you work on a computer, print out a copy periodically;keep your drafts in a real file folder as a back up.
6. REVISE! Don’t be afraid of editing. Be flexible. Keep your drafts — and move forward cutting and revising. Listen to and trust your editor.
7. JOIN SCBWI — Find local support. Join a writer’s group; check with the library or a bookstore for recommendations. Join your local chapter of SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators); they have national and regional chapters. Go to their meetings, workshops, and conferences.
8. START SMALL – Start a blog; build your audience. Try writing for local publications, while also swinging for the fences with the bigger publishers. Write an article in your field of expertise and mention your novel in progress in your bio.
10. BE PREPARED TO MARKET YOURSELF – Plan on investing significant time, money, and effort into marketing your work. Submit a creative marketing plan to your publisher for your book; how committed are you to reaching your audience and promoting your work? Plan on writing a blog; printing business cards with your cover art; writing press releases, and pitching yourself and your story to local media outlets, setting up school visits and readings at libraries and local bookstores. Consider hiring a publicist, if you have limited time or are not media savvy.
11. THINK ABOUT SELF-PUBLISHING – Consider running a PubSlush or Kickstarter campaign to help fund your project. Make sure to hire a good editor!
12. FOLLOW THE PUBLISHER’S GUIDELINES – Buy or borrow the Writer’s Marketplace and look at the submission guidelines for each publisher who interests you; you may also find their guidelines online. Follow publisher’s guidelines carefully. Be familiar with the books they publish; send a marketing plan, a bio., and a synopsis of the book with a cover letter, if they request it. Do not send original artwork; do not hire a friend to do your illustrations. Most often, a publisher will select their own artists. If you happen to be an author and illustrator, you can send a few examples of your work along with your manuscript.
So, what does a publisher do?
A good publisher will partner with you help you create the best book possible and get it into the hands of your audience — through editing services, marketing strategies, and distribution channels with access to larger markets. Writing can be an isolating experience. A good publisher is an ally for the writer throughout the publication process. We help make your book the best it can be.
Good luck! Keep writing!
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