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Moderator
Brandi_R
Posts: 1,598
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Topic 50: Publishing

In light of the "Getting Published" board joining the "Writing Room," let's focus on publication this week.

  • Have you published any of your work? If so, what was the process like for you?
  • Have you sent out work and received rejections? What have you learned from that?
  • Are you eager to start sending out your work, but feel fearful or unsure of how to jump into the fray?
  • Are you uninterested in publishing, finding the rewards of writing in the process itself?

What are your successes stories, woes, dreams, and desires when it comes to publishing?
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Wordsmith
Capuchin
Posts: 250
Registered: ‎05-17-2008
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Re: Topic 50: Publishing

I've had short stories published in print magazines and e-zines.
 
When I was most most active in submitting (the early to mid 80s), I papered the wall behind my desk with rejection slips (I know it's trite, but it was a lot of fun).
 
The most important things I learned during that time were:
 
a) the stories were being rejected, not my writing. Perhaps because I'm a genre writer, most of the rejection slips weren't preprinted forms -- the editors wrote back why they didn't like the story enough to buy it, and they encouraged me to submit again.
 
b) a rejection doesn't say anything about the quality of the submission. Every story I've had in a national magazine was rejected by at least two editors before it sold.
 
I'm presently trying to find an agent for a novel. In many ways, it's much like submitting short stories -- I send out a query, try to forget about it until there's a response, then send it to the next place on my list.
 
It's disheartening at times, but it's necessary to keep in perspective that I'm trying to find someone who will send me wads of cash for something I made up.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards." -- Robert Heinlein
Moderator
Brandi_R
Posts: 1,598
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Topic 50: Publishing



Capuchin wrote:
The most important things I learned during that time were:
a) the stories were being rejected, not my writing. Perhaps because I'm a genre writer, most of the rejection slips weren't preprinted forms -- the editors wrote back why they didn't like the story enough to buy it, and they encouraged me to submit again.
b) a rejection doesn't say anything about the quality of the submission. Every story I've had in a national magazine was rejected by at least two editors before it sold.





So true! Many writers often feel like rejections are in response to who they are as a writer or a condemnation of their work. The reading experience is such a subjective one. We all experience this in our own reading when we don't connect with a book that's getting a lot of buzz or, on the other hand, find ourselves drawn to and moved by a little-known novel. That's important to remember when it's our work that's being read. Rejections aren't a hard and fast judgment handed down, but rather the more modest message that the particular story you sent wasn't right for that particular journal.
letterpressfiction.blogspot.com
Correspondent
Clippership14
Posts: 382
Registered: ‎07-12-2007
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Re: Topic 50: Publishing

I'm having an article on gardening published soon. But that's not fiction. I'm getting ready to send out a book for the first time. Fortunately this is not the first book I've ever completely written and I'm doing my homework on the market and the industry. That's never a guarantee for success, neither is honing your craft because in the end it is another person who sees what you write and depending on that person and what they're looking for, you may or may not succeed. I did read about one author who received a rejection letter from one house and used it to get accepted at another. The rejection letter praised his work but the subject matter wasn't what they were looking for. Because of that praise and in submitting the rejection letter with a new query he managed to hook another editor and get the book published. It's a crazy world.

 

I have a card file lined up of people to submit to so that I can boomerang as replies come. I expect to grow from the process more than anything. Acceptance would be like winning the lottery or winning an election as a write-in candidate. More people write nowadays than ever before. There's a lot of traffic to have to wade through just to get a parking spot. Nothing ventured nothing gained--right?

Moderator
Brandi_R
Posts: 1,598
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Topic 50: Publishing


Clippership14 wrote:

I'm having an article on gardening published soon. But that's not fiction. I'm getting ready to send out a book for the first time. Fortunately this is not the first book I've ever completely written and I'm doing my homework on the market and the industry. That's never a guarantee for success, neither is honing your craft because in the end it is another person who sees what you write and depending on that person and what they're looking for, you may or may not succeed . . .


 

Congratulations on the gardening article. That’s exciting. And on this venture into sending out that book for the first time. You’re right, even having everything in line isn’t a guarantee for success, which is why determination has to factor into it. Keep your work circulating to find that right match. Let us know how it goes!
letterpressfiction.blogspot.com
Correspondent
Clippership14
Posts: 382
Registered: ‎07-12-2007
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Re: Topic 50: Publishing

If I get lucky a second time, I will. I have an entire teen panel (comprised of B&N Book Club members) that helped me out with two chapters to give kudos to. Plus all of the other people who've corresponded with me and kept me afloat. Suceed or fail, it's the learning process right?
Contributor
mandagayle52
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎09-15-2008
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Re: Topic 50: Publishing

I've never actually had anything really published--I was a reporter for a while, after college -- graduated w/ a BA in journalism, then realized during a year in the newsroom I HATE newspapers, hate news tv, and don't really like news radio. So it doesn't count if writing articles is your steady job, right? It's just another job.

As to fiction writing, which is still must be kinda fun for me considering I still do it on and off, though not as voraciously the past couple years-- I've been told I should try to publish, but honestly, I haven't the foggiest as to how to go about it. I always hear self publishing is bad, getting an agent is good, starting small with short stories and poems in literary mags is a good, traditional way to start... but HOW?

I suppose it's never been important enough to me to find out in the past, so long as I'm entertaining a few friends with my stories. An audience is an audience, right?

But lately, I've been thinking about the larger scheme of things again, and thinking maybe I should try to share some work with a larger audience. Still, the question looms:

HOW?

dunno.

-agw-
Contributor
mandagayle52
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎09-15-2008
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Re: Topic 50: Publishing


Capuchin wrote:
...
It's disheartening at times, but it's necessary to keep in perspective that I'm trying to find someone who will send me wads of cash for something I made up.

i love that :smileyhappy:

-agw-
Correspondent
Clippership14
Posts: 382
Registered: ‎07-12-2007
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Re: Topic 50: Publishing


mandagayle52 wrote:

-- I've been told I should try to publish, but honestly, I haven't the foggiest as to how to go about it. I always hear self publishing is bad, getting an agent is good, starting small with short stories and poems in literary mags is a good, traditional way to start... but HOW?

But lately, I've been thinking about the larger scheme of things again, and thinking maybe I should try to share some work with a larger audience. Still, the question looms:

HOW?

dunno.


 

This rings a bell; I was sitting around asking the same question a couple of years ago. I had some vague ideas and just about everyone I knew was going into the self-publishing market. The big drawback was they weren't making very many sales and 99.9% of people out there would never hear of their books. So here's what I did:

1) I delved in copies of Writers Market and The Writer's Guide to Book Editors, Publishers & Literary Agents. It was a start. The more I browsed through the listings for actual editors of publishing houses the more obvious it became that just about every one of them does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. They want you to go through an agent, who conveniently weeds out the good MS from the bad for them.

2) I also brushed up on my writing skills (and still am) by actually looking at some of the recent how-to books, especially if they were written by an agent or editor. Most of these books have sections covering the basic steps you need to take to submit a manuscript and some even go a little further and explain the process of going through an agent. One of the best ones I've found is Writing the Breakout Novel and the Writing the Breakout Novel  Workbook by agent Donald Maass. He's got a no-nonsense, easy to understand approach about the submitting process and where you manuscript needs to be in order to get an agent's consideration.

3) Thank goodness for the internet! There are so many great websites out there ranging from agent and editor listings, to how to draft query letters, to the blogs of actual agents. One I can recommend right away is Writer's Digest's Guide to Literary Agents: www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/ Here you can find listings of agents, what they're looking for and tips on how to submit.

4) One of the biggest things emerging in the blogs I've been reading is not only how well you submit your query letter to an agent but how well you follow their guidelines. In order to do that you have to delve into some serious research. Jot down which agents might represent your work (usually listed by genre) and then find out about them. Are they taking on new clients? Do they have a nice blog you can read from to get an idea of their personality and what they like? Who else do they represent and how would your work fit in? What are their submission guidelines?

5) Contests and magazines will give you some credibility but that isn't a guarantee of catching an agent's attention. Look for contests that offer publication as a prize; that carries more weight with an agent. Submit to magazines that specialize in your genre(s). Even if you don't and you have no actual credibility to jot down at the bottom of your query letter, if you've written something solid and interesting and manage to write a great query letter chances are you will get your foot in the door anyway.

 

Pretty much you've reached an intense research phase. Right now I'm trying to finish polishing up a manuscript for submission and when I get burned out or have to step away from it to do some brainstorming I usually switch to my research mode and study the publishing system. It helps to keep my focus with my writing and when I'm not actually writing, I still feel like I'm working.

 

Hope this helps! Good luck!

 

If you want more websites or resources to look into, or anyone else for that matter, I have more. Just let me know.

Moderator
Brandi_R
Posts: 1,598
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Topic 50: Publishing

Clippership14 has really covered the bases here! To add: If you’re looking into publishing short stories in journals check out the annual publication Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market.  It’s a good place to start in researching literary markets. There are also several online sources, like NewPages.com. See what appeals to you and get your hands on a copy of the journals you’re interested in. Read them. See if your work seems to fit. Then submit! The websites of journals and the journals themselves have writers’ guidelines that you can follow to submit.

Post more questions as you encounter them. This is a big process!

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