So you want to know the secret to writing a novel and getting it published. Well, there are no secrets. Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you want to be a writer the first thing you need to do is write every day.
There are steps every writer takes to becoming published and the ones I’ve taken are not that different from most, but what you need to consider are the rules.
Yes, there are rules in the writing world and I'm not talking about grammar, layout, or pacing. These rules are what I like to call Essential Guidelines to what every aspiring writer and published author should know. You may have heard of them before and I could've missed a few, but they are important and so I'm sharing with you again.
Rule 1: Write every day. If you don’t write every day, or at least five out of seven how are you going to meet the demands of a publisher who gives you a deadline?
Rule 2: Don’t get attached to your words. I’ll explain in rule 4.
Rule 3: Revise your work more than once and read it out loud. As Ernest Hemmingway says, “The first draft of everything is shit.”
Rule 4: Hire an editor. Everything you write is not perfect even after you’ve revised it a hundred times. An editor’s job is to make your words shine. If they ask you to delete a paragraph you love because it is irrelevant to the story. Do it.
Rule 5: Know your grammar. Live it. Love it. Learn it.
Rule 6: Research publishers. This doesn’t mean go onto their websites and take a quick peak. Learn everything you can about them and if they fit what your book is about. In short; STALK THEM!
Rule 7: Respect the submission guidelines and adhere to them. Do not send your manuscript on floral, colored, or scented paper. If asked for a three-page synopsis, send three pages. If they ask for a completed manuscript do not query them if your book is not finished.
Rule 8: Understand that the query letter is your moment to catch the publisher’s attention about your book. It is not for you to tell them you’re an amazing writer and they should publish you. Instead you want to hook them. Tell them about your book within a short paragraph, word count, genre, and your experience as a writer. That is it. Finito!
Rule 9: Have all your ducks in a row. When you send your query be sure to attach everything the publisher has requested in their submission guidelines. Check, re-check and check again. Utilize your OCD. Quack quack!!
Rule 10: Be patient. Yeah, I know--the OCD. You will not receive an answer right away. Do not email or phone the publisher asking about your submission. Instead start writing your next book, paint a room, rearrange your office.
Rule 11: Understand the rejection and use it for good. Remember it is not personal and it will only make you a stronger writer and person. Do not turn into Cruella Deville sending the publisher a nasty email telling them why they should've chosen your manuscript."Puppies Puppies. I want all the puppies!!" The writing world is interconnected and these publishers know each other. You will ruin your name and it is not worth it. Be smart.
**When you do get published don’t let it go to your head. Remember where you came from and who helped you get there. Promote other authors and their work. You’re all in this together.**
Always be kind, generous, and thankful.