How to Become a Writer Publishers Want

by Nov 27, 2017Publishing, Writing Tips

How to Become a Writer Publishers Want

I often get asked, ‘How do you get published?’ The better question is ‘how do we become the kind of writers publishers are looking for?’

Here are my thoughts:

Write the best goddamed book you can – live what you’ve written. Don’t write only for a perceived market, write from your soul, your essence, the very core of who you are in this world. Write a book that matters.

Write for yourself AND write for a specific reader. Do not write for fame or fortune. These are the unexpected gifts of grace – for some of us – when we write what is real and true and needs to be told.

Write your story AND create a message from your story that others need to hear – you are writing for an audience. Connect with your own emotional truth and learn the ways of the craft so that you can write to create an emotional connection with your readers. Think of your readers as your most beloved companions with whom you are sharing the best parts of who you are.

Have great intention but zero attachment to the outcome. Your only attachment should be to the process of writing the best book you can. In the publishing market, there are no guarantees. You will probably not get rich or famous, but then again, falling in love doesn’t make us rich or famous either, just happy.

 

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WINGS: Words Inspire, Nourish and Grow the Spirit

If you’ve secured a traditional publisher, stand in your publisher’s shoes: publishing is a business. Your publisher needs to sell your books to stay alive. How will you help your publisher to achieve its goals while simultaneously achieving yours?

Be easy to work with – take your publisher’s suggestions on board, don’t get huffy or precious. But guard your book like a mother guards her newborn baby – you don’t have to take all editorial suggestions on board, but at least sleep on them.

Create a personal relationship with your commissioning editor – publishers are people. They love books. Be the author they love to work with.

Become your publisher’s partner in getting your book out into the market. Do not expect your publisher to do all the work. No-one cares about your book more than you do – so be its best cheerleader and spokesperson.

Be pro-active – come up with creative, innovative ways of bringing the world’s attention to your book. Your work is not done when the book is written. Your work is done when your book has sold well enough for you to take a vacation in Hawaii on your royalties.

Find your speaking voice – not just your writing voice. Learn how to talk about your book so that when you’re interviewed about it, you are articulate, clear and speak with credibility and sincerity.

Learn the basics of marketing so that you can determine whether the marketing plan your publisher has drawn up will work or not.

Learn what needs to be done to bring your book into the hands of those who want to read what you’ve written. Do you need to get more social media savvy? Do you need to get onto LinkedIn and Pinterest? Do you need to make a few YouTube videos? Do it.

Your training starts now.

If you don’t get a traditional publisher who sees the value of your work – that’s okay. There is a whole world of self-publishing out there. You still need to tick all the boxes above. There are many ways to get your book out into the world.

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1 Comment

  1. Jo Larson

    Thank you so much, Joann, for your helpful pieces on writing my story. I don’t know you, but I sense you would be a good and loyal friend. I too am spiritual because of my belief in God through Jesus. I’m writing my memoir because it’s time and because I want to share how my story integrates with the larger story of the gospel. Yes, some would say it’s a sad story, but to me it’s a Sacred Story of love and redemption. Of being lost and then rescued. Fear to courage. Pain to peace. I want others to listen to their own sacred stories and see how God as our father was there all along and is there now. Thanks for pushing me forward into this unknown writing world. It’s vast and scary but beautiful and so with it.

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