How To Get Published
There is an old saying that states that every person has one book inside them. Unfortunately, due to the harsh realities of the publishing industry and the discipline it takes to finish a novel, most people do not get a chance to release theirs to the world. If you have decided to write a book in order to get published, be warned - you have a very tough road ahead of you. However, the rewards are great and following these steps should help you get on your way to becoming a published writer.
Every writer needs inspiration, and although you should never read books to directly plagiarize ideas from others, you should read a variety of titles in order to find out what works and what doesn’t. You should try and be as broad in your reading habits as possible - make sure you get a good mix of classics and contemporary novels, as well as poetry and non-fiction books. Take the time to read books from other cultures and re-read ones you have already finished - reading books more than once will help you understand core book dynamics such as plot and character development.
Think about your values
Everybody has a reason to write, and although it is very poetic to say “writing’s in my soul, it’s what I’ve always done”, that kind of attitude isn’t going to get you very far in the publishing industry. If you want to write a popular book that can be read by anyone, think about the sort of subject matter you are going to have to deal with. Similarly, there’s nothing especially bad about wanting to write to make money, but if this is your sole motivation then you may find the task unfulfilling and empty.
Learn about the publishing industry
Having knowledge of the publishing world from both the side of the writer and the side of the company trying to make money from printing books will help give you a wider perspective on what you will and won’t be able to write. The romanticized idea of the struggling author churning out novels while lying on a recliner sofa is a popular one, but you will have to get out and do some work in order to succeed in publishing. Try and get an internship at a leading publishing house if you can - the experience will pay off dividends later on, even if you aren’t getting paid. You can also try working in a book store in order to understand what sells and what doesn’t, as well as learn more on the process in general.
Carry out market research
Market research teaches you two very important things - what your audience wants and who is already catering to their needs. There is no point in writing half a book about a certain topic or depicting a particular story only to wander into your local library and find 15 other books are already covering the same thing. Work out what other voices there are in your particular niche before you start writing.
Write your book
Although this sounds obvious, you would be amazed at the number of people who come up with a vague plot, write the first chapter and then try to send the manuscript off to publishers. Writing as much of the book as you can will help you plan where your characters are developing, as well as make any necessary changes to the plot. Set yourself a writing schedule and stick rigidly to it - it is remarkably easy to get sidetracked when writing and you need discipline to succeed.
Let’s be clear - your first draft is most likely going to be pretty rubbish. The trick is to not get downhearted and realise one of the best ways to improve is by rewriting chapters you thought you had finished. This will help you grow as a writer, as well as teach you any nasty writing habits or bad practices that you need to watch out for.
Even when you have finished your manuscript, don’t expect to start sending it out straight away. Once you have obtained a list of publishers who may be interested in releasing it, you should send them queries detailing the plot and structure of your book to find out if they want it. A publisher is much more likely to read a query and give you a response than struggle through an unsolicited manuscript.