Sunday, December 04, 2005

Getting Published 101 (or how *not* to get published)

I'm writing this for three reasons: 1) To get out of answering e-mail, which is now overflowing out of my inbox, like oatmeal flowing out of the pot (it's so overwhelming, I don't know where to start), and; 2) One of my new resolutions is to actually post entries to my blog, and; 3) Getting published is a crazy business, so maybe I can share some of my trails and tribulations to give you some hope. So I'm going to cover various obstacles and solutions, in little chunks, over the month of December.

When I first started writing seriously for publication (I'd written all my life, but the 'have-to-get-published' bug didn't hit until my late 30's; obviously, that was only a few years ago). When I started on 'the path', I was hyped, I was enthusiastic, I was convinced I was the next Nora Roberts, and I was like a bull in a china shop. I went charging around with absolutely no idea of what I was doing. I didn't even know that I didn't even know . In my ignorance, I basically ended up doing *everything* wrong: submitting a manuscript in a binder, going into an editor appointment without a thought-out pitch, writing inappropriate query letters--you name it, I did it. Of course I was writing and writing and writing (which was a *good* thing), but even there, I didn't know what I was doing wrong. It was a scary situation .

But I also did some things right: I subscribed to Writer's Digest and Romantic Times Magazine, I joined RWA and my local writing chapter (Dallas Area Romance Authors), and started educating myself on the publishing business. I also read books on writing techniques, talked writing with other writers, wormed my way into a good critique group. And as I learned the professional approach to becoming a published author, I did a lot of cringing as I realized all the faux pas (I.E., total screwups) I had committed, and I wanted to slink away in embarrassment. But guess what? I survived all my mistakes, managed to pay for the damage in the china shop, and somehow, *somehow* managed to stumble into being published.

So, I guess my message is, don't worry if you make mistakes, or if you don't get it right the first time. *Keep trying*. I firmly believe those who persevere are the ones who make it in this crazy business.

~ Catherine


Reese said...

Thanks for this, Catherine. We've all had cringe-worthy moments. Mine usually involve zealously sending off e-mail which are CHOCK full of spelling mistakes (why is it so hard to see your own mistakes until about 10 minutes later. why, why, why?)

The amount of info on the internet can often hinder, rather than help, because it's so bleeding confusing and often contradictory. But I agree with you that joining a writer's group is a huge help.


Kristen Painter said...

Great post, Cathy! Hope your holidays are fabulous and stress free.

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