Writing to be Published… And Read
Writing to be published and read is the dream of all writers. Writing a book and getting it published is hard to do. However, there are many ways to get your book published.
Today’s guest post comes from bestselling author Don Keith
When I decided to begin writing seriously, I jumped off that cliff with my eyes wide open. I knew the odds were stacked against my ever being published, but the need to write had infected me like a fungus. One thing I did not anticipate, though, was how many people would contact me once I had been published looking for advice on how they, too, could live that dream. That was when I decided to put an article on my web site under the heading “On Writing” to which I could direct them. Those points are based on my own observations and experiences after 26 published books, including several national bestsellers and one that was submitted for consideration for the Pulitzer Prize. And later, I did a greatly enhanced version of the web piece and published it as an inexpensive e-book. See it here
Here are the basics of that article, though:
1. If you want to write to become wealthy and/or famous, please be aware that few do either. Damn few. Practically none, to be honest. Instead, if you write because you must (that “fungus” thing), then do. If you write because you want people to read what you pen, and you want to affect them emotionally in some way with your prose, then absolutely do! You may still become rich and famous, but even if you don’t, and you become published…and READ…then you have lived your dream.
2. To be published traditionally…be it by big, medium, or small houses…you will almost certainly have to have a literary agent. Few houses consider unsolicited material. Finding an agent can be frustrating. You may well be turned down by scores of them, usually with the standard “your material does not fit our needs at this time” copy-and-paste rejection. Remember this: legitimate agents work with a limited universe of editors/publishers at a time. You may have sent him or her the next “Harry Potter” or “To Kill a Mockingbird,” but if the agent does not know an editor with whom he or she works who is looking for that kind of book right now, there will be no interest by the agent in representing it. Do not see an agent’s (or editor’s) rejection as an indication your book is awful. It may well be, but that was not the reason it was rejected.
3. There are snakes masquerading as literary agents, ready to feast on desperate would-be published authors like us. And like a boa constrictor, they can swallow you whole before you even realize they have you. Google “predators and editors” for an excellent web site that lists and reviews many agents.
4. Do not rule out self-publishing. For most works, you will still do better going the traditional route. However, in many cases, using CreateSpace, Kindle Direct Publishing, PubIt, SmashWords and other newer vendors, can not only get you published…and READ…but also result in more royalties flowing your way. Google them for details. But remember, you will have to do your own marketing. If that scares you, you may not want to go that route. Also keep in mind that even if you are published by Doubleday or Simon & Schuster, you will still likely have to do your own promotion and marketing.
Discouraged yet? If so, maybe you aren’t meant to be published…and READ. Consider some less challenging ways to get rich and famous, like the stock market or video poker. (I’m kidding!) But if you go into this thing with your eyes wide open, and if your goal is to have real, live people read what you write, meet the characters you have created, and then laugh, cry, get mad or be happy because of what you composed, then write on!
One thing is for sure. If you don’t persevere and simply give up, you will never live that dream.