Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Quick Tips: 12 Ways to Increase Chances of Publication in Today's Industry

Several years ago, I witnessed someone who had returned from her first writing conference--and when she was asked how it went, she responded, "I basically learned that it's impossible to be published."  

Now, I've technically only been in the industry for eight years; however, I know it's not impossible to be published. And not just because I'm published myself. 

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Is the competition tougher today than it used to be? Absolutely. But we have an advantage today that writers of the past didn't have. And yet, I still come across writers who are discouraged at the state of the industry. Writers who are so busy focusing on the unlikelihood of publication that they fail to notice the opened doors and possibilities. 

No, publication doesn't have to be an impossible feat. It doesn't have to remain a far-off dream. In fact, the decision is yours. You have an opportunity to take steps that will cause your submission to rise to the top of a slush pile. Thanks to the recent changes in the publishing industry, you can now take steps that will help you be discovered

Is publication an overnight journey? Not exactly. It might take longer than you'd like. But it is possible--and the journey is worth it for those who are willing to go the extra mile. 

Here are 10 ways to increase chances of publication in today's industry...

  1. Write the book to the best of your ability. Yes, this requires self-editing, having the manuscript reviewed by critique partners/beta readers, and perhaps hiring a self-editor. 
  2. Know your market. Is your book going to sell? How does it fit in and still bring something new to the table? 
  3. Stick by your genre standards and expectations. What do readers of your genre expect from your book? What do agents and publishers expect? What is the typical word count? All of the answers to these questions can be found by research. 
  4. Enter your book into contests. By doing this, you might have your book evaluated by an agent/editor. And if you place in a contest then you could add this to your list of credentials.
  5. Attend writing conferences. Pitch to editors and agents in person and glean from their expertise by taking their classes. Most of the clients I've signed at Hartline are writers I first met at a conference. 
  6. Seek publication through other avenues. What magazines could you submit to? Not only does a published article look good on your list of credentials, but it may also help you expand your platform. 
  7. Become a master at the writing craft. Study books on the craft and books within your genre (and outside of your genre). Soak up as much as possible. Apply techniques to your writing. Learn the rules, then know when to artistically break them. 
  8. Establish a platform. This doesn't mean you should hold off on submitting to agents until you reach 5000 followers. Platforms are always going to be a work-in-progress. As an agent, I like to see writers who are actively working to engage with their target audience and making efforts toward growing their platform. What kind of online presence do you have, and are you consistent in providing content for your target audience? Do you have a mailing list?
  9. Brand yourself, and stick with this brand on your website/blog and social media presence. What sets you apart from other writers in your genre? What can readers expect from your books? What kind of content can they expect from you on social media?
  10. Follow submission rules and guidelines. Remain professional. Don't assume you're an exception to the rules.
  11. Set up a website or blog. You don't have to create a fancy website; in fact, a free Wordpress or Blogger site is fine for now. When a writer doesn't have an established online homebase, it makes me wonder if they understand how to connect with today's readers. A website is a great place to establish your brand, introduce yourself to potential readers and agents/editors, and invite people to connect with you on social media and through your mailing list. 
  12. Keep going. Keep writing more books. Keep reading. Keep building your platform. Keep learning. Keep growing. 

What tips would you add to this list? Which one on this list is the most difficult for you to apply and why? Let me know in the comments!


Quick Tips: 12 Ways to Increase Chances of Publication in Today's Industry @TessaEmilyHall #pubtips #publishing

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