5 Tips To Getting Published



The advanced proof of my novel!

So, as most of you know, my novel, Emma Jean's Bad Behavior, debuts on February 12th.


The road to getting published was long.  Veeeeerrrrry long.  And I learned a few things along the way, like what it takes to get a book out into the world.  So today I look at 5 tips that allowed me to finally succeed at that. 

Here's the deal: you all know the basics of how to get published, right?  You research agents and publishing houses that might be a good fit for your book, write a stellar query letter, and then you send it out.  And send it out again.  And again.  That process hasn't changed, even with the advent of indie publishing (which is a whole different process), and it's not likely to any time soon. 

But what you might not know is what lies beneath the above process, the mindset that you need to develop in order to find success in the publishing marketplace. And that, my friends, is what this article is about.  This mindset is in some ways as important if not more important than anything else, because developing a strong underpinning to what you do as a writer will carry you through your career.

So, here's to a publishing mindset, which takes:

1.  Willingness.  You need to be willing to do the things you think you don't need to do–like establish an author's platform while you are writing the book.  You need to be willing to master social media, start a blog, begin connecting with your future audience.  Long gone are the days when all writers had to do was sit back, write and let their publishers do all the marketing.  You'll be expected to participate, and it's going to be a lot easier if you get a head start.  Agents and editors look at things like your blog, and your social media presence these days.

2.  Consistency.  There's nothing sadder than coming across a blog whose last post was six months ago.  Or a year ago.  Start your blog and be consistent with it.  Get on Twitter, and keep tweeting.  Polish your query, and keep sending it out, even after you've been rejected a gazillion times.  Work on your WIP regularly, as often as you possibly can. It's the writers who keep at it who eventually get the win.  I know, I'm one of them.

3.  Determination.  Are you going to quit the first time it gets hard to accomplish your daily quota of pages or word count?  Are you going to stop the second you get a rejection?  Are you going to give up when you can't figure out how to format your novel to indie publish it?  You better not, because both of those things will happen a lot.  To be a successful writer takes determination and perserverance in spades. If you don't force yourself to do whatever it takes to send the work out, your words will remain stashed in a drawer.

4. Creativity.  You can be the most lyrical writer in the world, but if you don't
find ways to plant yourself in front of the computer, the words won't
get written.  It all begins and ends with the writing and if you put the writing first, everything else will take care of itself.  Master techniques to get your butt planted in that chair.

5.  Craziness.  To commit yourself to a writing-centered life and vow to get published takes a bit of craziness.  It just does.  It's ever so much easier to be content at a 9-to-5 job, come home, eat dinner and turn on the TV.  Not you, because you come home, eat dinner, and turn on the computer to write, with no guarantee that anyone will ever see those words.  That's crazy, isn't it?  So be it.  I happen to believe it's also the most important thing you can do, crazy or not.

How about it?  What do you think is the most important mindset a writer needs to have?

**If you're interested in learning more about publishing, I'll cover what I've learned in the bonus session of my Get Your Novel Written Now class.  Registration is now open, with early-bird pricing in effect until the end of the month.  Register now.

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9 Responses to 5 Tips To Getting Published

  1. Patrick Ross 01/17/2013 at 02:29 #

    I definitely relate to #5! You must be so excited right now, counting the day. I’m very excited for you.

  2. J.D. 01/17/2013 at 04:56 #

    Charlotte, your book looks fantastic. Now the cat is out–you have given us the golden key. Hard work! How disgusting. Then, maybe this writing/publishing was never easy. Maybe it was harder when Twitter and Facebook and blogging didn’t exist. I do believe the publishing climate being what it is, that someone is willing to put your book out in print is a testimony to your talent. And the book does look great.
    P.S. I feel like the proverbial sinner caught in the stare of the preacher.

  3. Charlotte Dixon 01/17/2013 at 06:56 #

    You're so clearly not a sinner, J.D., seeing as how you've worked hard for years and now have a book coming out yourself!  And you raise an interesting point–was this game easier or harder before social media?  I think the answer to that is two-sided.  It was easier because there were no distractions, but it was harder because you couldn't get your message out so readily.  In general, I think we writers are lucky to be alive at this time when we have so many options available to us!

  4. Charlotte Dixon 01/17/2013 at 06:58 #

    Thanks, Patrick!  I'm excited and a little nervous, my baby is going out in the big, wide, scary world.  Yikes!

  5. Suzanne Craig Robertson 01/17/2013 at 08:18 #

    Here’s to craziness!!! I’m so proud of and inspired by you, Charlotte.

  6. Charlotte Dixon 01/17/2013 at 08:25 #

    I think craziness is the best of them all!  Thanks, Suzanne.  You're next.  :-)

  7. Don 01/17/2013 at 19:17 #

    Great points Charlotte. I especially like the one on determination. When I was a child, of around 14, I used to write regularly, back-and-forth, with one of the world’s most famous and successful cartoonists (Charles M. Schlutz of Peanuts fame), and he told me that you “always had to have a hammer in the fire”, and that you could never look back, but rather you had to focus on looking forward to the day that you would eventually become successful. It is of no use to concentrate on past failures, but rather one had to concentrate on your future success. Sparky ( his official nick name, but I called him Chuck), also said that there was no such thing as failure as long as you learned from your earlier attempts, and so he was.

  8. Charlotte Dixon 01/17/2013 at 20:30 #

    Oh Don!  I love that advice to concentrate on future successes, not past failures.  And, how absolutely wonderful that you had a correspondence with "Sparky." You have so many fascinating stories to tell!

  9. Janice 01/21/2013 at 02:17 #

    Thank you for stopping by my blog the other day and congratulations on your book! How absolutely exciting. As an artist I find your advise here to be applicable to my work as well. Sometimes I just have to MAKE myself get in the studio and do something…anything! Of course once I’m in the “zone” I wonder why on earth it was so hard for me to get started, especially when the whole process is so life-giving. What funny creatures we creatives are.

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