On today’s Mind Matters I interviewed Marc Allen, author, musician, cofounder and president of New World Library. We talked about the ins and outs of writing books and getting published. (The show will appear in “Archived Shows” soon.) He just sent me “Five Steps to Guarantee You’ll Get Published,” which he adapted from an article by Gary Provost. It offers great suggestions. Here it is:
Five Steps to Guarantee You’ll Get Published
(1) Learn to write well. Learn to express yourself clearly. Study the art and craft of good writing. Learn the difference between a semi-colon and a colon (or else don’t use them). Learn to revise and polish your work — good writing usually involves more rewriting than the initial writing.
(2) Write from your heart and soul. If you’re just doing it for the money, I don’t want to even hear your idea. The project should come from the deepest wellsprings of your life; it should be something you’re passionate about, something you’ll want to keep focusing on long after the book is in print. Otherwise, why invest so much of your time and energy into it?
(3) Study the market and the business of publishing. Become knowledgeable in your field. Learn how to make a good clean submission, with a clear, clean cover letter. Be friendly with publishers! Be on your best behavior. They’re considering you as a potential partner — and who wants to work with a jerk? Publishing works on the partnership model, not the dominator model. So be nice.
(4) Learn to sell. If your work is worthy of publication, it has something to offer readers. It has something to interest publishers. What is it? Learn to sell without being pushy and domineering — remember, you want to create a partnership with a publisher. Show them you have something valuable, without being shy, and without being aggressive.
(5) Be persistent. Keep on writing. A science-fiction writer I heard about wrote and submitted stories for 25 years before he finally got published. That’s persistence. Once you’ve submitted something, follow up a month or so later. Make sure they act on it, and don’t just let it sit in a pile somewhere (which is all too common — I’m guilty of that myself). Hang in there. As Burt Lahr said, “If you stay on the merry-go-round long enough, you’re sure to get the brass ring sooner or later.”
— From an article by Gary Provost
Adapted by Marc Allen, Publisher, New World Library
“Always write as if you’ll never have the blessed chance to write again, so this has to be the best thing you can do. Do that, and it will be.”
–Joe Gore, Wolf Time