I don’t even know if anybody is going to read this, but here it goes. I am a writer. Nothing wrong with that except by day i work for a small telecommunications company splicing fiber optics. Doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for doing what i want to do most, tell stories. Writing is always something i wanted to do full time, but getting married, having kids, and watching them grow up kaboshes a lot of hopeless dreams. The problem is that we don’t realize at the time that dreams are NOT hopeless, you just have to work at them. Last year i finally sat down and forced myself to write. I’ve always been an avid reader and remember always thinking (except for a few authors who were born to do their craft) i could do better. I finally sat down last year and tried it. The words flowed into sentences, the sentences poured into paragraphs, chapters formed, and eighty-thousand words later i had myself a book. WOW, i thought, NOW WHAT?
If anybody asks what is the hardest part about writing, tell them the answer is simple. Writing is cake, getting published is a stone cold bitch. You see movies on television about how people sit down and write what happens in their lives and the next thing you know its a made for TV miniseries. It could happen, but you might want to stick to something with better odds, like those silly little lottery tickets. “You can’t win if you don’t play”. Well you also cant get your stories published without due diligence and working your ass off.
I wrote my first novel “Origins” in about eight months in my spare time (all 1 hour a day) and finished it at the turn of the new year. That’s when the fun began. I began researching how to get published. I could devote several hundred terabytes on the nasty, evil, companies out there trying to get you to do horrible things such as “self publish” and “Joint venture publish”. I will say one thing and it is the greatest lesson I learned, and in no way do i consider myself to be an expert, if a company asks you for money to get your work edited, published, or marketed, run. Run fast and run away. Block their emails, stop taking their calls, and basically treat them like they have the plague.
The next pitfall on the road to getting published is finding a reputable “LITERARY AGENT”. If you’re writing non-fiction, you might have better luck than i did. To this day, i still don’t have an agent. When you write fiction, just getting someone to READ what you have written is damn near impossible. I queried around fifty literary agencies. I know what you’re thinking, “WOW, your book must suck.” It might, I’ll be honest, but everyone who has read it has either given me great feedback or is horribly, horribly afraid of me. Either way, 99.9% of the responses i received from said agents is “We are way to busy to take on any previously unpublished authors at this time, thank you for your interest.” (insert trombone wa-wa-waaa here)
So how do you get published without an agent? Simple, go directly to the publisher. If you send your work to them without hearing from them first, i can tell you your book will end up in whats called a slush pile in some dark hobbit filled cavern right next to an evil dragon. The chances of somebody actually reading it are right up there with finding a literary agent and winning the lottery, but there are alternatives. There are some great websites out there like duotrope digest. Whoever runs this website has a special place for them reserved in the nicest hotel in heaven. They not only list publishers, but also links to their submission guidelines, the kinds of work they are looking for, submission contact emails, basically everything you need to know about publishing companies. Get a load of this, the even DELETE the publishers who go out of business, or no longer respond to emails, WOW.
The next step is FOLLOW THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES on the publisher’s websites. They like that. Some are pretty picky about query formats, submission formats, attachment formats, what color underwear you wear on Tuesdays, the religious backgrounds of your second grade teachers, and well I’m sure you get the idea. I know i saved my book in about seventeen fonts, fourteen font sizes, and about thirty-eight formats. DON’T GET FRUSTRATED. The easier you make it on them, the easier it will go on you. Some require a query and an invitation for you to submit. Give it a shot, it works.
I finally received an invitation to submit, and they liked my book. It will be in publication soon, in eBook format. I’ll take what i can get. If it sells enough copies i hope to see it in actual lets kill a couple thousand tree format. Keep your fingers crossed. That’s where I’m at right now. I received my contract in the mail and sent it back all signed with a smile on my face and hope in my heart. I’ll keep you posted as to publish dates, etc. If you actually read this and it helped you in ANY way, you just made my day.
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