Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tips on getting published

If you want to write children's books, here is what you need to do:
  1. Join Why?
    • Because it is an organization of writers, illustrators, editors, agents and others involved in the business.
    • They provide training, workshops, and how-tos
    • The website is a great resource
    • Networking, networking, networking. I am attending a workshop this weekend. 11 of the authors who have attended had book deals by the networking
  2. Do your homework. Why?
    • Editors do not like it when people do not read the guidelines
    • You won't make it out of the slush pile if an editor feels disrespected
    • Some houses like to work with new authors.
    • If you write about animals, and a publishing company says "no animals", well, you just lost credibility. Some of them will remember your name
  3. Join a critique group. Why?
    • Because no matter how good you think it is, your first draft sucks. Often we are soo excited by our words, our judgment clouds reality.
    • Others will catch what we miss, point out inconsistencies, bad word choices, under-character development, etc.
    • Networking
    • A good story will be rewritten, rewritten, and rewritten.
  4. Be prepared for rejection. Why?
    • It's part of the process, don't take it personally
    • Look at the manuscript after each round, rework, reevaluate, rewrite.
    • Don't take it personally
  5. Don't jump into self-publishing (unless you want it for a specific reason and don't care about reviews). There are reasons to do this, but I would not make it my first avenue.
    • Most publishers will not take a book after it has been self-published. It's already out there, been bought, and is not a first edition. To get their attention, it has to sell a ton, thousands, of copies
    • Name recognition. If you don't already have a reputation as an author (Stephen King could self-publish and still have a best seller), it makes it hard to get your book out there.
    • Reviews. Reviews are important to getting a book sold.
    • Editing! This is one thing that makes me cringe. So many self-publish and don't have it properly edited. I was looking through some books the other day, and saw so many minor mistakes.      Note: Editing does not mean asking your spouse, sister, or best friend to look at it.
    • For picture books, the art and words need to be designed to catch attention. This often gets missed and you have what looks like something a grade school class published.
    • Cost. A few of the books I looked at shot themselves out of the marketplace. I won't pay $22 for a picture book from an unknown author who has mistakes.
    • If you go this route, spend time researching any house you go with.
Good luck! You can do it. I did. :-)


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