How to Become a Published Author
Getting a book into readers’ hands isn’t as simple as having a story idea, writing it down, and submitting it to a publisher. The publishing process can be baffling for the uninitiated, so we offer three valuable tips to get you writing (and publishing) that story that’s been living in your head.
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Tips for becoming a published author
- Write (and read) a lot
Writing, like any skill, requires practice. Your first draft might not be great, but keep writing. The more you do it, the more you’ll improve. Practice with shorter forms that you can complete quickly (for example, short stories) to hone your skills.
Also, try to keep to a schedule. Is there a time of day that is best for you? Can you only spare half an hour daily? Is there only one day in the week that works for you? By setting aside a specific time to write, you’ll improve your chances of success. It’s easier to stick to a routine, and it is more difficult to talk yourself out of writing if you have allocated time for it. To be a successful writer, you need discipline, so draw up a schedule and stick to it!
If you want to write well, you need to read—a lot! Consider the things that work in the books you like. Pay special attention to titles in your genre. This will help you figure out what readers may be looking for, what trends prevail in the genre, and possibly what gaps there are in the market. To understand what makes a good book, you’ll have to read as much as you can.
- Research, research, research!
You’ll need to research to write a story. For example, you may need to learn about the time period your book is set in or the market for your genre. The research process will probably take some time, so make sure you are thorough. What might not be as obvious is the need to research literary agents (if you choose to use one) and publishers.
Don’t cling to the first agent or publisher that accepts you. Who does the agent typically work with? Are those publishers’ brands relevant to your book? What audience do they reach? Do they have expertise in particular genres?
Researching the people and companies you might work with is crucial to finding the right fit for you and your book. You want to make sure that you place your manuscript in the best hands possible, so don’t settle for a publishing company that isn’t the optimal fit. Trust your gut: If you have a bad feeling about a certain agent or publishing company, don’t sign with them.
- Don’t fear rejection
Remember that even the best, most successful writers have faced rejection at some point in their careers. When your book is rejected, allow yourself a moment to deal with the disappointment, then move on. If you’ve received any indication as to why your book was rejected and there are things you can change to improve it, then do so. Learn from whatever feedback you get. Otherwise, try to find another publisher that is a better fit and pitch to it. The point is that you shouldn’t dwell on rejection.
Being a writer isn’t easy, but it can be a wonderfully rewarding career for those who have stories within them. Hopefully, these tips help you in your journey to getting published.