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Getting published – think you’ve got what it takes?

It's a start. Now, just keep going!

It’s a start. Now, just keep going!

Getting published is, for the vast majority of authors, the name of the game. They want to share their worlds, the people they’ve created and the trials and tribulations that make the book something they’re proud of. It doesn’t matter what genre they write for, it all boils down to doing something that they love, producing something that they’re proud of and sharing it with others.

Generalising again, most people start out with every intention of writing a novel. They truly believe that they have he ability to write a novel. Some never get past the “I’d love to be an author stage.” They have vague inklings of what they want to write and they’ve seen just how much J. K. Rowling makes per second. However, they never get last the talking about it stage.

The next group actually start to write. Some find it too hard to get last the first few lines. Disappointed with the fact that they haven’t been able to produce a literary masterpiece straight off, they throw it into the metaphorical bin and sulk.

Some get further, they might even complete the novel. Then they get some people to look at it, not having edited it properly, and those people on the whole give well-intentioned feedback that results in the author focusing on the negative rather than the positive and, as before, assigning the book to the bin.

What these two groups of authors know, but don’t really believe, is that writing isn’t easy for the majority of people. When I started, I used to think that my first draft was just amazing. To be honest, when I look back at wrote I last year, let alone three years ago, I can see how I could have improved it.

Because these people don’t believe this fact, they allow the initial set back of “Damn, this writing sucks!” to stop them from continuing. Speaking honestly their egos are too fragile for them to accept that a) they’re not naturally brilliant and b) they need to try harder.

Now we move onto the third group. These people are more serious about writing and have had feedback, edited their work, maybe even paid for their work to be edited by a professional, and have then submitted their book to a number of publishers or agents. That’s when the whole world comes crashing down. The first batch of rejection letters and emails come slamming through the door, punching into the inbox and they all say the same thing in slightly different ways; No thanks.

Some will say just no. Others will say that at this time they’re not looking for this sort of book. Some will even go further and actually give feedback. I try to do this when editing for anthologies, as I know just how helpful a few comments and examples can be. Unfortunately this group, whilst considerably stronger than the others, is still fragile. They don’t take the rejections as a positive thing; they take them as personal attacks on their writing skills and their beloved works. And so they stop. They are incapable of seeing anything positive in the rejections.

The final group is the group that actually takes the rejections to heart, re-examines their work, gets members of writing groups to look at and critique their writing, does the same for their fellow members and who continue to submit their novel time and time again.

This is how you get published. You take the knife to the heart of the first rejection and the salt-in-the-wound of the follow-up rejections and you look at what they are actually saying. Then you look at your work and see how things can be improved and you rewrite, you test it and you submit again to another agent, another publisher. Writing is all about rolling with the punches, picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and having another go. Eventually you will be published or, and this is another article, you’ll self-publish.

About mattsylvester

Father of two beautiful daughters and married to the beautiful Karen, Matthew has been reading and writing fantasy and science fiction since he first read the Hobbit at the age of 7.


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