Monday, January 30, 2012

How to Get Published--Part 1

Pay Attention

Pay attention to the world around you. The stories that stand out from the masses are the ones which reflect a slice of life. To get this slice the author must notice the little things.

Pay attention to marketing trends. The world is changing rapidly with new ways of marketing, new formats to explore, new approaches to try.

Pay attention to social media trends. With rapid technology changes comes rapid trend shifts. One popular social media platform may not be so popular tomorrow. Keep an eye on what's popular for maximum number of readers.

Pay attention to publishing trends. As much as we shouldn't write for a particular trend, since by the time the book is ready for publication, the trend has passed, it's important to know what's happening.

Pay attention to other books like your own. If you do the research and find what other stories can compare to your own, then you'll know what works, and how you can make your story different so it stands out. Agents and publishers often request a list of comparable titles in your query.

Pay attention to other authors. They can help you. You can gain tips you may not have known and connections you might need. You can learn from their mistakes. When you offer the same in return, you can find yourself in an amazing group of people who support and encourage each other.

Pay attention to your critique partners. Find someone you trust and listen to the critiques they offer. There is no point handing over your manuscript to someone if you aren't going to at least consider what they have to say about it. You don't have to accept every point they make as law, but pay attention, consider and then decide whether or not to go ahead with any suggested changes.

Pay attention to the details. Don't be in such a rush to pump something out there in the hop of 'getting published'. Spend the time to get the grammar right, the structure right, the little details of the story right.

Pay attention to events. Writers' festivals (conferences), workshops, local writing groups. Take note of when they are on so you don't miss out. Take part. Be open to meeting new people and learning new ways to improve your craft. Get involved.

Pay attention to submission guidelines. These guidelines are not suggestions. Agents and publishing houses often have their own particular likes and dislikes. Don't assume standard formatting will fit every submission.

Pay attention to the way you present yourself. Be professional at all times in all things.

Can you think of other ways you can pay attention to get ahead in publishing?

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Thank you: A huge thank you to everyone who took part in the Great Aussie BBQ. A special thank you to those who spread the word. It was a fabulous success.

Awards: I wish to thank Cynthia Willis for the Great Comments Award. I would also like to thank Nick Wilford and Mark Noce for the Versatile Blogger Award. 

Note: Part 2 will be posted next week. My next post will be for the Insecure Writers' Group.

50 comments:

  1. I'm bookmarking this, because I want to make sure I don't forget any of these points.

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  2. All excellent points. My favorite, of course, is paying attention to my fellow authors. The social media grapevine is a great way to keep up with what's going on in publishing and learn who's selling what to whom.

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  3. That last one is important. And the tips from other authors and critique partners are so valuable.
    I'd also add pay attention so you don't miss opportunities elsewhere.

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  4. I'd like to add:

    Trust your gut. Too many people believe in everyone but themselves.

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  5. I would add "be patient" because success and how you define it does not usually happen in 24 hours.

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  6. Gosh! I think you've pretty much covered it all here! Yay for paying attention! Take care
    x

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  7. Great list. I'm bookmarking it too, for future reference!

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  8. Paying attention to other books similiar is a great way to see what might not be working in your own work. I like looking at negative Amazon reviews for stuff I like (weird, I know haha but I like to see why people might not like something I do) and I do it for YA books too. Most people complain about characters being too flat, the story being too much like another story, or not original enough.

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  9. Great points,especially on social networking. I'm trying to get the hang of it but it's hard. While it's important to build a platform, it can be intimidating when you're practically from the ink and quill era. (Okay, I exaggerate, but technology has changed our world so completely!)

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  10. You always have great advice. Thanks for posting this, Lydia.

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  11. I need lots of good critique partners!

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  12. Great tips! My critique partners are stupendous. I'm lucky to have them.

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  13. Great list. The first one, paying attention to the world, seems the easiest by far. My guess it's the thing that made many of us want to be writers.

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  14. 'Pay attention to the way you present yourself. Be professional at all times in all things.'

    Love this, Lynnie.

    I would also add something simple. Pay attention to your heart.

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  15. Lots of great wisdom here Lynda. I've noticed a couple of articles lately about knowing the comparative titles in your genre. Great idea to read lots - my excuse anyway.

    Thanks for the BBQ. I didn't get time to get around as I was at the end of my Perth holiday and flying home etc. I'm going back to read some comments and check a few out now.

    Denise

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  16. Submission guidelines are a biggie! Great list. :0

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  17. Fantastic list, Lynda.

    I pay attention to my critique group as well.

    Have a great week.

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  18. A very comprehensive list. I particularly like 'these guidelines are not suggestions'. It's amazing how many people think otherwise.

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  19. Great points.... and totally agree on them.

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  20. Wonderful points, Lynda. I'd add, as my momma would say, "Pay attention to your gut," as well. It's so easy to get wrapped up in what this publishing world wants, we tend to forget the love of the craft--what gave us that driving desire to write in the first place. So, paying attention to the industry and what's hot in the industry is sage advice, indeed, but don't forget to listen to your gut, your ingrained conscience. ;)

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  21. this is a future dream for me .. I need all the help I can get...thanks for your great pointers!!
    I am also your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

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  22. I think one should also pay attention to their instincts.

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  23. I think the one about paying attention to books in your genre and paying attention to your critters are two of the most important. And keep writing. Oh, and what Susan said up there about paying attention to your instincts... :D Good stuff, Lynda!

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  24. I need to hang these on my wall so I don't forget. I especially appreciated the reminder to "Pay attention to the details. Don't be in such a rush to pump something out there in the hop of 'getting published'... It's the second time today I've read something telling me to be patient, slow down, do it right. Thanks!

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  25. I think you've covered everything. There are plenty of workshops and conferences to keep you abreast of the latest in publishing. But I find bloggers such as yourself give out so many tips and inspiration, I could probably give a couple of workshops a miss! :)

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  26. That's so true! Thanks for the reminder. :)

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  27. Pay attention of people who help and encourage you. And thanks for posting an image of OPENING on your sidebar! I greatly appreciate the support.

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  28. Oh, and I read Open Minds too. Great book. I gave it Five Stars.

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  29. This is really good stuff. Thanks for all of it!

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  30. I think the other big idea is to get over fear and put yourself out there. Seriously, what's the worse that could happen?

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  31. Luanne, it's my favourite as well :)

    Maria, yes, pay attention to your gut is a great addition to the list.

    Marta, you are ahead of me. 'Be Patient' is part 2.

    Writing Hour, yes, negative reviews are interesting for that reason. I also like reading them. Not weird at all.

    Honey, I think I've been lucky. I've always been surrounded by people who love the new tech which has given me access to it when I probably would have avoided most of it.

    Suze, brilliant addition to the list: Pay attention to your heart. Love it.

    Denise, welcome home after what sounded like a fabulous holiday. I'm impressed you managed to post while away.

    Alyssia, yes, it IS a great point and very important to listen to your gut.

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  32. momto8, welcome

    Merrie, these are things I have to remind myself about too ;)

    Joanne, I'm starting to find workshops less helpful these days. I've been to so many now that they are starting to sound all the same. But I still attend them because I like meeting new people.

    Stephen, I attached a link back to your blog too when you click the image of your book. These little things to help fellow bloggers go a long way.

    Tasha, another great point. I could phrase it: Don't pay attention to your fear.

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  33. You hit the nail on the virtual head, although I will add, Don't be too serious, have fun. This is a ride. Enjoy the journey. :)

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  34. Excellent points.I'm bookmarking this post too and remembering to pay attention!

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  35. These are great. I'm going to save these.

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  36. Great points, Lynda! You have some awesome advice- thanks for posting!

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  37. Yeah, I have no idea what people want to read these days. I haven't really picked up a new release in ages...

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  38. Great advice! I will be using these in the future.

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  39. You make excellent points here. One of my favorite parts of writing is reading other books like my own - now there's fun research!

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  40. I love this post. Right now I am paying attention to other books in my genre and the way other writers are doing their marketing.

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  41. For marketing purposes I understand the need to evaluate trends, but from an artist's perspective I take this with a grain of salt. Yes, you want to read what fellow writers are writing, but at the same time you can only write what's true to you. Neat post:)

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  42. I love how you talked about paying attention. For me, that was the key to learning about the publishing world-- I had to pay attention to what was going on, and listen to the many helpful voices.

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  43. This network we've built on the blogs is fabulous. Paying attention to my fellow writers has taught me a lot.

    Paying attention to how crit partners write & their feedback is a great learning experience, too. Every one of them has something of value to offer.

    The BBQ was a blast. Hope you had a great weekend.

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  44. Excellent tips!
    Definitely pay attention to the details!!!
    Gotta go pay attention to my kids now ;)

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  45. Thank you for these tips. I am relatively new in my desire to write a book and find your blog so helpful.

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  46. The most difficult one for me is the one about books like my own. My genre, which used to be the most popular, is becoming less and less so every year. It's hard to find comparable titles, at least current ones. *sigh*

    I have a hard time with the trends, especially in YA. Whether it's the vampire trend of 5 years ago, or the dystopian trend now, it all reads so similarly to me. So I'm sticking with the adult stuff, I think.

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  47. Books, authors, details, critique pals. . . all so helpful and wonderful in the journey to publication. Wonderful post, Lynda.

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  48. Susan, yep, best kind of research :)

    Rachna, yes, I've picked up a lot of tips from watching what authors do for marketing.

    Mark, absolutely. It's important to stay true to the story inside you, but you can also make minor adjustments to make it easier to fit into a market.

    Mary, yes the BBQ was brilliant! I normally take a blogging break over the weekend, but not this time :)

    Nancy, that's the problem with trends. They die out. It's the trend-setters that will go a long way. Unfortunately they are a risk for publishers. More reason to persevere.

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  49. Oh, this is GOOD stuff! All excellent things to pay attention to, in a nice handy list. I like lists. :) Congrats on your awards, too!!

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  50. lots of great points!
    thanks for the follow and i look forward to reading more of your posts.

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