Writer’s are always trying to figure out what a market needs, what they should write to insure they get a publishing contract? They watch trends, talk to publisher representatives, and in the LDS market, they pray a lot. All in pursuit to the Great Mormon or American Novel, all in pursuit of giving the market what it needs. So what do YOU think the market needs?
Real issue conflicts?
I know the answer 🙂
What the market is absolutely and completely hungry right now–today–is . . . all of the above, or, well, maybe none of the above.
All of them if the publisher can a) sell it and b) It’s well written. None of them if a) You’re the only one that thinks people will buy it and b) It’s poorly written.
It seems obvious, doesn’t it? Of course a publisher needs to sell the book to make it worth their time and money investment and obviously, it needs to be well written if it’s going to sell. So, seeing as how obvious it is, here are a few things I’ve heard from writers in the last six months:
“I knew it still needed work but I had spent so much time on it I just had to finally send it in, ya know, like when you get to the point in a relationship where you either get married or break up.” “I know I should have revised it, but I was sick of it and had another idea that was begging for me to get started, so I just sent it in. That’s what they have editors for, right?” “I just need one of the editors at (publishing house) to take me under their wing, show me what I need to work on. If they would just give me a little time I could figure out what my weaknesses are.” “I find that letting other people read my work before I submit shows a lack of confidence in my own ability. The most important person to believe in me, is me.”
I know I’m beyond objectivity for comments like this, since my life has become completely entangled with submission guidelines, knowing the market, and presenting about the overall world of writing and submitting, but honestly I hear this and I say “Really?”
Would you go to a bank for a mortgage if you were unemployed and had no credit?
Would you show up for your first day on the job with a suitcase full of clothing and ask your new boss to help you pick out the outfit?
And would you ever marry the guy that says “Hey baby, I either need to dump you or finally give in and make you my wife?”
It seems obvious in those cases, doesn’t it? And yet dozens of writer’s feel they are the exception, that their story is good enough that their grammar-defect won’t be an issue. They continue to see editors as employees rather than employers. They continue to think that they are the exception to the rules repeated to them over and over and over again.
Getting published is a three point plan:
- Write your best work–this means making sure other people agree that it’s your best work. Hire an editor, trade with other writers, take a writing class. Don’t THINK it’s good enough, learn enough and get enough feedback to KNOW it’s good enough. Keep learning, don’t ever rest upon your laurels and assume you know enough.
- Submit the right way–you’re expecting an agent/publisher to respect you and your work enough to produce it. Respect them enough to submit the way that works best for you. If you’ve written your best work, don’t screw it up by going slacker-face on the submission guidelines. With the internet and ease of getting the right info, don’t flush it.
- Don’t give up–You’ll have lots of reasons to give up. Even as you begin achieving success, you’ll wonder if you should stop. You’ll get rejected, you’ll get bad reviews, you’ll get frustrated, and discouraged, and get tired of seeing other people’s success. But if you give up, you’re guaranteed that you’ll never get published. If you write your best work and if you submit the right way and to the right houses, you will eventually find publication. If might not be your first book–my first book is still on my hard drive as are many other writer’s first attempts. Keep writing your best work, submitting the right way, and not giving up.
And remember, the longer the process takes, the better success story you get to tell later.
Find Josi at http://www.josiskilpack.com and http://www.josikilpack.blogspot.com