- Have you read lots of the most successful and modern books in your genre?
- Do you admire many of them?
- Can you say what you love about them?
- Can you name, easily, six authors whose books you admire in your genre? I don't know why I said six - I was tempted to say ten, but that seemed a bit tough and seven is not my favourite number. Nine would seem a bit weird. And I could have said eight - in fact, I will. Eight, then.
- Are you writing something at the moment? You should be. And if you've finished something and you're waiting for people to get back to you, you should be writing something else.
- Have you taken steps to have an online presence, such as a blog? It's a good way to practise writing and communicating, even if it's nothing like your actual work in progress. If a blog is not your scene, at least create a page somewhere, such as on a social networking site - people need to see you. You can't hide away as an author these days, unless your name is Salinger.
- Have you got lots of ideas in you? Train your mind to catch and play with ideas.
- Are you taking steps to discover all the rules about submitting to publishers / agents? As I say several times on this site, there's no excuse for not discovering these basics, such as how much to send and how to present it.
- Are you perfectly professional in your working life? Do you always do what you say you're going to do when you say you're going to do it? (And I do mean in your professional life - I'm not bothered whether you do the ironing when you say you're going to. In fact, if you do the ironing when you say you're going to, you've got too much time on your hands - get writing, for goodness' sake!)
- Are you keeping a list of ways to promote yourself - eg blogs, websites, relevant contacts. Do you keep a note of useful people's names and contact details? Do you contact people (politely and having a care for their personal space) on the right blogs and websites?
- Have you joined some kind of community in the writing world and found opportunities to network? Not everyone wants to be in a writers' group or something where you have to share your work (and there's no need) but if you join an organisation or webgroup/forum for unpublished/published writers, you will learn a great deal and make valuable contacts. And that you do need. Many people cringe at the word networking - so call it something else then, but still DO it. It's not creepy and crawly unless you are creepy and crawly. Just be friendly, open and sensible.
- Are you avoiding all the mistakes in the article on COMMON MISTAKES?
- Do you feel gutted and miserable and everything else unpleasant when you are rejected again? If not, you probably don't want it enough.
- Do you ooze green poison when you read in the papers of some idiot's 6-figure contract? If not, you probably don't want it enough.
- If offered the choice between a month on a paradisical island, all expenses paid, travelling 1st class, with silently gliding masseuses attending to every knot in your shoulders, bringing you iced mango whenever you feel like it, and an offer to publish your novel, would you choose publication? If not ...
Monday, 12 January 2009
CHECKLIST FOR PUBLICATION - CAN YOU TICK THEM ALL?
I believe that if you can't say yes to all of these, you give yourself much less chance of being published and you deserve it less. Unfortunately, I can't guarantee that doing all of them will get you published, because that depends on what you have written and how well you have written it.