So, it’s 2015 and I’m at a stage where I’m looking to get published. I have a novella that I think is good enough after writing and editing the damned thing but now comes the hard part; finding someone to publish it. There are going to be problems and challenges and, hopefully, success at the end of it. I’m going to keep track of the big moments and feelings as I go through it all.
And you’re welcome to join me!
Choosing where to submit
This is the tricky one – maybe the subject of a post itself – and there is no easy way about it other than doing your research first.
I never said I was doing this in order!
Don’t just submit to the first opportunity you come across as it might not be the best one. Find out what they’re looking for and see if what you have ready is suitable for them. You can submit anyway, sure, but they are likely to get hundreds to thousands of submissions a week and anything that doesn’t fit in won’t even get glanced at.
Why should they, they’ve got plenty more to choose from. Nowadays especially, you’ll find most are okay with you submitting to multiple places but check first. You’re downfall is not preparing and researching – that’s almost guaranteed to end in failure.
Also check on their submission guidelines and how they want submissions to be sent. This includes formatting your manuscript or story properly. There are plenty of guides out there that can give you a standard style and form but if you don’t take heed of their personal instructions then you may as well not submit.
Of course, if you or someone you know have contacts in the industry, that can certainly help although it’s not going to make anything end in absolute success. Use everything you can to give yourself an advantage but don’t pester.
You’re more than likely not going to receive feedback either – and for crying out loud, DON’T pay to get your work published. That’s always going to be a scam and it’s different from hiring a proof reader if you think it’s a worthwhile move.
Playing the waiting game
Yup, this is BORING. It can take weeks if you’re lucky and months if not. Chances are, you won’t hear anything from some of them and that’s okay. All it takes is one to get back to you. The dream is that they’ll say yes…but this isn’t a dream. This is life. Honestly, you probably won’t want that e-mail.
That first response…
Is actually devastating.
There’s no point in pretending otherwise because it won’t help. It’s easy to get down heartened and maybe even think about giving up – but what’s the point in that? This is what you’ve been working towards for months, maybe years – and you’re going to give up at the first hurdle?
The first hurdle, I say? What about the writing, editing and all the rest? Sorry to tell you but that’s the easy stuff. You write because you want to, because you love it and/or have a story to tell, a story you just CAN’T keep to yourself. Editing it is a slog but worthwhile. You still have control but getting published? You lose that control.
So, take that response and hug it close. Read that e-mail or letter over and over, go over every detail that you can and look for hints. If you can’t find any then move on. Go for a walk, Run until you physically can’t, listen to loud music, scream at a wall, cry to a friend – d whatever you need to process it.
It’ll make you stronger, trust me.
Find another publisher, another literary agent, another open call, another competition. Whatever it is you’re looking for, go find it. This is the digital world and most will accept you will submit elsewhere – in some conditions – but make sure you read what their terms are before submitting.
You have to weigh up what’s best for you and your piece. There are other options out there and we’ll discuss in due course.
UPDATE: The next part is now live – read it here.