A QUITTER OR A SUCCESS

It may seem strange for me to say this, but the first step in getting published is to produce a complete body of work that is the best you have ever written. Some writers try to go at it backwards and think that the minute they declare they are writing a book is the time to search for agent/editor/publisher.
The decision to publish must come after you have honed your craft, written and rewritten several books/articles/short stories. You have attended conferences and workshops, spent time in a critique group or at least with other writers who are willing to give some input.
Let’s suppose that you have done all this, what comes next on the road to publishing?
Networking not only with other writers, both published and hopeful, but with editors, agents, and publishers. Attend seminars and be willing to talk about your work, make appointments at these conferences to discuss what you have. Practice presenting your book. You should be able to tell someone what your book is about in 25 words, in three minutes and perhaps fifteen or twenty minutes. Telling what your book is about should include setting, time period, characters, conflict and solution. Practice doing this.
Why am I telling you all this when all you really need to do is get yourself an agent and sit back and let her do the work? HA HA. Rarely happens.
I sold my first book, a short non-fiction, at a writer’s conference when the president of a small publishing house stood up and said he was looking for ms about rural Arkansas. I managed to get his ear long enough to tell him what I could produce because this was right down my alley and he asked to see something. He bought it from the proposal and sample chapters I sent. An
overnight success? Hardly. I’d been trudging to this very conference for years, enjoying it, learning from it, but never expecting to make my first sale there.
Second sale? A big fiction to a New York Publisher came about where? At a conference. By this time I had an agent who was trying to sell my work “mainstream” SMILE. Probably the Great American Novel.
I went to Western Writer’s of America where I helped with the conference sited near my home.
I had won a first place with a western novel the year before, and a friend of mine literally pushed me into the room to see a western agent there from NAL/Dutton. That meeting finally resulted, some months later in my making a sale to the Western Romance division, Topaz. I wrote and published four books with them before they fazed out the line.
Even now I’m on the lookout for visiting editors who are looking for something I might have or might be able to write. They get to know you after a while.
It is true that getting published is partly who you know, but you are in control of who you get to know when you have a book to sell.
I have been active in a critique group since I wrote my first book. That mainstream great American novel? Well, it never sold, first ones rarely do, but I learned a lot. And I’m now in the process of using it as a springboard to a women’s fiction which I believe will sell.
I found my first agent through a member of that group. We have been actively helping writers for 25 years now and still have those who give up, others that persevere and some getting
published.
A friend of mine once told me, “The road to success is littered with quitters.” It’s not that they fail, but that they quit.
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About veldabrotherton

I'm primarily a writer, but I also speak and teach workshops and co-chair a large critique group. My brand is SexyDarkGritty and that applies to my western historical romances, mysteries, women's fiction and horror novels. After almost 30 years in this business, I still have something to learn and attend conferences to network with other writers, publishers, editors and agents.
This entry was posted in conferences, marketing, NAL/Dutton, networking, pitching editors, publishing, Topaz, Velda Brotherton, Western Writers of America, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A QUITTER OR A SUCCESS

  1. I haven't had much luck with agents either, Velda. My first one, I later learned, was a former deputy sheriff who didn't like that I wrote about deputies leaving a mess of fingerprint powder behind at the crime scene. Another talked me out of every offered contract, so I've sold all 13 books myself. 🙂

  2. 婉婷 says:

    生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。.................................................................                           

  3. Selling my books myself has always been the best way for me too, Jean. I think we care more about our work than anyone else when it comes to getting it sold, and we're much more familiar with it. Thanks for the comment.

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