First, let me say:
There is no simple ‘recipe’ for success.
Many people ask me, what does it take to publish a book? While I certainly don’t know all the answers, I’ve been at this for many years. And what I’ve learned can be summed up in 5 major points:
- You Need a Fantastic Idea!
If you want attention from not only your readers but also the literary community, the first thing you need is a tremendous idea. But BEFORE you actually write the book, you need to research other books out there that may be similar. I’ve had several ideas I was convinced were potential best-sellers, but then, oh no, I found an almost identical book already on the market. Ideas are funny that way. Sometimes they float in the air and are public property.
Ok, so you’ve got this amazingly awesome idea. And, nobody has written anything similar. You’re off to a promising start! But a great idea is just that: a great idea. To make it come alive in a book in just the right way takes talent and a lot of practice. Your idea needs engaging characters. It needs a setting, and an ending but most of all, it needs conflict, plot and the right pacing. Once you hammer out the first draft, get back to the drawing board as many times as it takes to edit it thoroughly. Get critique partners. Be ruthless.
- Do Your Research!
It’s hard enough to achieve numbers 1 and 2 successfully. But if you do, the nest step is to do the proper research. Don’t just send it off to a batch of 50 random publishers. Many might not even accept that specific genre, or may not match with your writing style. It’s critical that you research the publishers that interest you to find the right matches. So when you do send your queries, it’s to editors who might actually have an interest in your work. Be smart about this step. And yes, this takes A LOT of time. There are no short-cuts. Don’t forget to keep immaculate records for future use. Read the rest of this entry »
Many emerging writers often ask me what the trick to getting published is. But the trick is that there is no “trick.” It goes without saying that writing professionally is a labour of love and takes incredible amounts of dedication, patience and perseverance. Here are my top 10 tips that can help:
1. Write, write, write!
The trick to writing well is to KEEP WRITING! You need to spend time writing every single day. You may put in more hours on some days than on others, but the idea is to keep going. The gems emerge here and there, so the more pages you write, the more gems you’ll find.
2. Edit, edit, edit!
So you managed to get the first draft out, great. Now what? Time to edit! Editing is actually very difficult. You need to be able to look at your work objectively and ruthlessly chop what’s not working. I heard a great quote at a writing conference I attended: that you usually end up scrapping the first few chapters of your book entirely! Those pages are really just for you to situate yourself with your story. Read the rest of this entry »