So ya think you want to get published, do you? And you’re wondering if you’re good enough.
I’ve been published eight times. Also, I’ve been editing professionally for a publisher that puts out books in all genres. I’ve seen raw manuscripts, and take it from me, many of them leave a lot to be desired.
How do you get published? Here’s the answer:
1. Write well.
2. Tell a good story.
Kind of a letdown, huh? You were expecting me to give you some long, convoluted answer about only submitting during a certain phase of the moon after you’d sacrificed ten black-backed beetles in a particular forest glade while one squirrel and four crows observed… Uh, no. The answer is simple.
Getting published comes down to those two things. Write well and tell a good story. That is all it takes to get published. That wasn’t the case back in the day of big house publishers like Random House et al; they were really fussy about the manuscripts they accepted. They had a reputation as hard-asses, and with good reason. It cost a lot of money to publish back then; they had to be careful.
Ebooks changed everything. There are a lot of publishers looking for good stuff. What you’ve got hidden in a drawer somewhere might fit the bill.
So dust off that manuscript and read it again. Edit as you go. Then find a friend who won’t blow smoke up your ass and ask them to go through it, too. Ask them to use Word’s markup feature to note changes. Get that story into the best possible shape.
Next step: Find a publisher. Google it. It used to be okay to submit to as many publishers as possible. That was back in print days. No simultaneous submissions are accepted anywhere these days. Trust me, if you’ve written well and told a good story, you’ll hear back in a much shorter time than it used to take (six to eight weeks as opposed to six months). Electronic publishing is that sand beast with all the teeth from The Empire Strikes Back. It’s constantly hungry and demanding to be fed.
When you think you’ve found a likely publisher, read their submission guidelines! Do not skip this step. It will piss them off. Format your manuscript the way they want you to and email it to them.
Then pour yourself a stiff drink and wait.
If you’ve followed my directions, you will get an acceptance email shortly. You have my permission to scream with joy and dance around the room.