If you’re asking me, then this is my advice for getting published. Write a good book that you’d like to read. Rewrite it until it’s perfect. Find someone else who likes it (preferably an agent or editor) and get it published. Simple, right?
I remember hearing again and again at conferences and from other writers that all I needed to do was to write a good book. Why can’t people just write a good one with no hassle at all? Why did it take me so long to do it? Maybe it’s because writing is hard work. And maybe it takes a long time to get good at it.
Every time I write a book, I tell myself that I can only write it as well as I can at that very moment. But my job each time is to write as well as I can. And when I do it again and again, I get better at it. But this is hard work, and does not come from scribbling down one rough draft and calling yourself done.
I have lots of friends that are struggling to get published and have been for years, and other friends who one day miraculously get an agent or that big deal. And I realized that publication almost never happens before you’re ready. And it usually happens because you are ready. You wrote your bad first book and let it go. Then you had the space in your head and on your hard drive to write that debut novel that makes everyone say “wow.” And you did. And then that one other person fell in love with it…
So publishing is a lot like a love story. Finding the perfect person at the moment when neither lover is committed to another person or living on opposite continents. If anything is off, then the love story or the publishing deal falls through.
My advice? Start by writing a good book that you’d like to read. Don’t hold anything back for another book, because by the time you get to book number two you’ll have more to give. Your path to publication will become clear when you’re ready. And then an editor, an agent and I will eagerly await to read your debut book.
Have a happy new year! And don’t forget to enter our contest. Win a “Damned Scribbling Woman” (or “Scribbling Woman” or “Equal Opportunity Reader”) t-shirt! Find out how well you know the Debs…
5 Replies to “You’re asking me for publishing advice? by Deb Meredith”
I remember being so frustrated by that advice- “just write a good book.” It is true, it happens when it is time and not before.
Solid advice, Meredith. I think a big step for aspiring writers is learning to accept the revisions process, and to accept that (for 99.9% of us!) writing a publishable novel takes time–not weeks but months, and possibly even years.
That’s why it’s so important to enjoy the ride!
Happy New Year to you!
Sometimes, with all the focus on query letters and marketing and hooks and elevator pitches, it’s easy to forget it all starts with writing a great book!
Thanks everyone for stopping by! Happy New Year!
I’m enjoying hearing everyone’s advice this week.
This was a wonderful post and wonderful advice. As an aspiring novelist, it’s something I have to remember as I revise my second novel while the first one gets circulated among agents.
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