Most professional writers are continuously writing new work for publication. Before writing for publication, there are five important steps you should take to speed up your work in print:
1. Identify your ideas and subjects of interest.
2. Target your markets and select publishers in these areas.
3. Prepare your submission materials.
4. Contact publishers in your markets and make follow-up contacts.
5. Keep a careful record of your correspondence, submissions, and telephone conversations.
A) Identify your ideas and subjects of interest.
Before using the Writer’s Market, list the subjects that interest you. Once this is done, you will easily target the various markets that will support your work.
Make a list of the subjects (non fiction and fiction) you’ve written about or would like to write about in the future.
As you create your own list of subjects, feel free to add as many entries as you wish. Keep this list handy so that you can continue to add to it. You will find the ones most dear to you will inspire your best writing. Readers are drawn to the author’s enthusiasm about a subject they love. Never be afraid to branch out in areas where you’re not an expert. Do your research!
B) Target Your Markets and Select Publishers In These Areas.
Some writers will finish their manuscript before they begin to look for a publisher. This is the typical approach when the manuscript is a work of fiction, such as a novel or short story. Non Fiction writers often target the idea they want to write about to reach a certain audience and marketplace for their writing. They use resources like the Writer’s Market, that helps them to develop ideas for manuscripts.
C) Prepare Your Submission.
Your product’s preparation for the marketplace must be done properly in order to be successful. In the Writer’s Market, there are basic instructions on how to do this. The attachments you send with your manuscript or query will vary greatly depending on the type of project you want published. Research!
Non Fiction work usually is comprised of a one-page query letter to interest a magazine editor. For a book idea, a cover letter, overview and outline with the author’s information sheet, how you plan to market your book and a list of competing titles is required along with sample chapters. How many depends on the publisher’s submission requirements. Always check they website for changes in people contacts, address changes and submission requirements.
For Fiction work usually requires a cover letter and the completed manuscript for a magazine article. For a book, a cover letter along with the synopsis and sample chapters is required. The publisher may request further information from you.
D) Literary Agents.
Some writers use literary agents to represent their work to publishers. They negotiate contracts on their behalf too. An experienced and well-connected agent can be a great asset when it comes to getting published by a large publishing house or prestigious magazine. Most agents, however, won’t consider negotiating contracts for articles and short stories since it’s not worth their time for the small commission.
I should note that the Writer’s Market is aimed at writers who wish to promote their own work without the benefit of an agent. Check for solicited or unsolicited acceptance of manuscripts. Getting an agent is the more common practice to help with contract negotiations, but it’s not unheard of for a writer to skip this process if they are comfortable negotiating for themselves.
E) Manuscript Preparation and Mailing.
Your manuscript should be clean and error free! Ensure it’s been edited to the best of your ability and then by a professional editor if you feel it’s needed. First impressions are important! You want yours to be one of professionalism and ability.
Use the Writer’s Market’s format for preparing and sending in your manuscript. Remember to double space your work for easy reading. Always keep a copy of it. Do not staple your pages together. Always provide copies of illustrations, not the originals. Do you want your work back? Make certain you have the correct and sufficient postage amount on your return envelop. I can’t stress how important it is to check web sites and the Writer’s Market for up-to-date information and how to prepare your information.
I always get a current copy of the Writer’s Market to help me with submissions. It’s an invaluable resource that every writer should have.