Saturday, March 27, 2010

Quick and Dirty Guide

Maggie's Guide to Getting Published

And if you thought something else what are you doing here hmmm? I mean really, should be ashamed of yourself. I'm not going to post anything like That here.
I'm not sure Maggie will either but she's younger and more adventurous than I perhaps. ;) But she does have great writing advice. As most regular or irregular readers here know that I reference her blog site a Lot. So her blog is a good one to check out regularly. [you can check out my Friends list at top here.] But this is on her Facebook fan site, and is too good for any writer to miss. So re-posted here for those that aren't on Facebook or aren't Maggie's friend/fan. And if you aren't, why aren't you? Okay, so if you aren't on Facebook, I understand. I have a page and I'm not there all that much either. But if you aren't a fan of Maggie's.... well, I just don't know about you then. And if her great book 'Shiver' didn't change your mind, maybe this will. Otherwise maybe we do need to talk here. hmmmmm????

Oh and no, fortunately or unfortunately, haven't decided which yet ;), I'm not Maggie. But I am a fan.
And no I don't believe in telling people what to do - I don't Really! - but you should check her out. Or at least her great, and savvy, advice. So here's some of what I'm talking about that Maggie shares.

Maggie Stiefvater (Really, it's me): Quick & Dirty Guide to Getting Published

Maggie Stiefvater (Really, it's me)'s Notes
Quick & Dirty Guide to Getting PublishedShare
Today at 6:32am
I get asked a lot if it's difficult to become an author, so here is my very abbreviated rundown of the process. I'm also going to try to format it prettily so I hope that works.

1. Read. The more you read, the better you'll be as an author. Good novels are your text books. I'm always very suspicious of someone who tells me they want to be a writer but can't tell me five books they've read recently. Read, read, read!

2. Write. A lot. Write all the time. When you're not reading, practice writing. The odds of your first novel being good enough to publish is pretty darn slim. I started writing when I was in my teens and had 30 (horrible) novels written by the time I was in college. But I certainly didn't try to get most of those published. They were just practice and I knew it.

3. Rewrite. The rough draft is just the beginning. No matter how wonderful you think it is, put it down for two weeks -- don't let yourself read it or think of it. Read lots of novels in between. Then come back to it, and slice and dice. Use index cards to write down the scenes, mix them up, see if you need new ones, see if two characters could be made into one to be more efficient, make sure your protagonist is gripping from the beginning. Writing is the fun part. Rewriting is when it becomes a BOOK.

4. Be Honest. With yourself. Are you really ready to be published? You want to make sure that the first novel you send out there is amazing. Don't be discouraged if it's not. As long as you work hard, keep plugging along, keep learning, it's "when" not "if."

5. Google. Be Knowledgeable. Everything you need to know about the publishing process is available online at blogs, websites, and on publisher sites. You'll be competing against writers who have done all their research to make sure everything is formatted properly, so don't be the one that gets tossed aside for looking unprofessional. I have links to sites that I like on my website, on the links page.

4. Query. The next stage is querying. A query is a one page letter describing your novel -- and this is the only thing that you will send agents, who are the people who will represent your novel to publishers. Most of the big publishers will not look at queries from unagented authors. They count on the agents to weed out the ones that aren't ready yet. You can find agents that represent your kind of books at Agent Query. And you can find my recommendations about query letters on my blog here.

5. Be Patient. And keep your spirits up. Be prepared for a lot of "no"s. I have hundreds of them. The fact is, you might not be ready. Or you might not be that agent's cup of tea. You may need to revise more. This part is fun, not stressful. If you're getting a lot of form rejections -- letters back that just say "dear author, not for us" it means you need to revise your query to be more appealing. If you're getting requests for partial manuscripts and then rejections, it means you need to revise your manuscript. Take all requests and suggestions for the wonderful, free advice that they are. And remember, it's a process, it takes a long time, and it's fun. It's also not a gamble -- good novels WILL get requests. It's not whether or not you send it on a Monday or include hershey's kisses with your submission.


There are many, many scam artists out there. Agents should never ask for money up front -- they get their money when they sell your book, and that's it. A publisher that asks you to pay them is called a vanity publisher, and while there are reasons to pay to get ar book published (for example, a cookbook your church is doing for a fundraiser), there is NO reason to pay for your novel, your work of fiction, published. Publishers pay their authors, not the other way around.

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