Posted in book publishers, first publication, getting published, Jane Friedman, novel writing, Other Writing Stuff, publisher, publishers, publishing, The Writer's Toolbox, writing advice, writing books, writing workshop

Novel Submission Part 1: The Query Package

Untitled-2After many years, my novel is finally done, now comes the hardest part yet… it’s time to submit it. I have to admit, I’d rather write another entire novel from scratch then do what comes next, but paraphrasing Theodore Roosevelt, “anything worthwhile never comes easy.”

This summer I’ve been taking the first steps in getting my novel ready for submission by writing a cover letter (or sometimes called a query letter) and a handful of synopses (because it’s not good enough to have just one synopsis, but that’s another post!).

The first step I took in writing the cover letter and synopsis was to do research and see how the professionals were doing it. And I was also lucky enough to take a workshop about cover letters and synopses from science fiction author Gray A. Braunbeck last September. After a frustrating search, I finally managed to find my notes from his workshop. Yay!

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Posted in A Writer's Life, getting published, good writing, great writing, publication, publishing, taking time to write, The Writer's Toolbox, the writing journey, the writing process

Publication: Why the Rush?

There are two kinds of writers; the ones who are published and the ones who are not. The ones that are published are constantly looking for new things to write about and launch into the world (they make it look so easy). Then you have the writers who aren’t published, looking at the published authors and saying, “that’s what I want.” So these unpublished or newly published writers race to break into the field, because it’s what’s expected of them.
What is the first thing that people say when you tell them you’re a writer? I usually get, “Make sure to remember me when you become the next Steven King (or whoever)?” Or if you talk to a friend or family member you haven’t seen in awhile, “So when’s that big novel coming out? Did you get it published yet?” It’s all about the rush to be published to get your name out there, because if you can’t justify your writing by publication, then are you really a writer at all?
Interesting that writing has such a push to get results when other pastimes don’t (usually) get that sort of attention. Do your friends ask when you’ll be the next Emerald or Michael Jordon? Do they wonder when you’ll try out for an Olympic team or become the next Picasso? Why the rush?
Why can’t you take the time to make your writing better? What’s the big rush? Do you really want to look back five years from now and say, “What the hell was I thinking publishing that?” Wouldn’t it be better to slow down and make sure you get it right? Good writing cannot be rushed and great writing can only happen when you let it. Just because the piece is “okay” doesn’t mean it should be rushed to the presses for the world to see. Do you really want to be known as an author with just okay stories- or worse?
There are some people (and I know this from experience) that have stories they’re just tired of writing on. A burning desire deep within to get something published makes the rash decision that the piece is “good enough” and sends it out knowing the story could be better- much better. Why the rush?
I have come to the belief that all good things come to those who wait. Those who take the time to make themselves great instead of putting stuff out there and then regretting it. Once a piece of writing is published, it’s out there- forever. There is no going back, no do overs. It’s immortalized in black and white, so why run the risk of having a black mark on your writing resume when you can take your time. Why the rush?
You might be thinking, “Yeah, everyone thinks that way about their work.” Maybe, but wouldn’t it be better knowing that your best foot was put forward, instead of a hurried rush to get to the finish line? I have certainly felt that way about some of my work and have decided that my time means more to me than that and I want do something more worthwhile.
Then you’re thinking, “But if you wait until that happens, you’ll never get anything published.” Maybe, maybe not, but again do you really want something that you aren’t that proud of immortalized in print when you know deep down that you can do better? Why the rush?
Why is it so important to be published right now? Unlike many things in life, writing is one of the areas that you have complete control over. You control when you writer, what you write and what you let the world see. Next time that burning desire comes over pushing to send a story out before it’s really ready, just ask yourself… Why the rush? Why not spend a little extra time getting it right?