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LJ meme of the day

While the meme I've seen go by is about Rules for Writing, I'll give my variant, the answer I've given to many a hopeful new author asking How To Get Published:

1) Put the words On The Paper.

(Yes, of course it could be an electronic file, and there are many many ways to prompt yourself to make the words, and techniques for improving what they are. The point is - don't tell me your story, your great idea, your transformational experience. Put the words on the paper.)

2) Put the paper In The Mail.

(Sure, that could mean anything from finding publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts, to finding an agent. it most certainly does not mean pay someone else to print your work.)

This two step process has the advantage of simplicity, and that both steps are absolutely critical to actual publication. if you skip either one you can't get there. Does this alone get you published? Of course not.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 3rd, 2010 02:21 pm (UTC)
You leave out self-publication.

Webcomics have proved that the internet can let the creator deal directly with the public, and I think short fiction can also find a good audience on the web.

For self-pulishers have drop your step two, and add:

2) Develop a business plan.

3) Executing the business plan. (This icludes but is not limited to creating new content, customer service, and posting your content).

I've seen more good web-comics fail because they do not provide regular content updates.

A shelf-publisher of fiction will be in exactly the same boat.

Self-publishing isn't easier than finding a regular publisher, it's just that the work load shifts around.
Mar. 3rd, 2010 02:54 pm (UTC)
While self-publishing is an incredibly viable way to get your work out there, I claim that it is different from "being published" i. e. someone else doing all the publishing work, and "just" giving you money.

It isn't only webcomics that are demonstrating the leveling power of the internet (check out Book View Cafe for a non-randomly picked example). For that matter there are hundreds of examples of successful self-publishing before the internet even got here.

But the question I was answering (to the steady stream of hopeful newbie-authors that came to my shop) wasn't "how do I get my work to be better known?" or even "what are all the different ways I could make money off of my work?", it was specifically "how do I get published?". And even now I feel certain that they meant "how do I get someone else to publish me?".

All that said, my answer is trite and not really helpful. About the only thing it's good for (other than humor) is derailing the subtext of "let me tell you all about this great novel I plan to write". So it was helpful *for me*.

Edited at 2010-03-03 02:55 pm (UTC)
Mar. 3rd, 2010 04:12 pm (UTC)
Amen. When people ask me "how do I become a writer?" I say: "Write."

When they ask "how do I become a freelance consultant?" I say: "Can you live for six months off the cash you already have in the bank?"

They leave me alone after that.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


after all
Alice Bentley

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