Tuesday, July 10, 2012
The Road to Publication-Part I
Recently, I was involved in an on-line discussion titled "What Do You Want From a Publisher?" There were many visitors who had definite opinions, both positive and negative. Without a doubt, the relationship an author has with a publisher is as important as writing the book itself.
When I first began to search for a publisher in 2005, the only names I knew were Avon, Berkley, Dorchester, Kensington, and Harlequin--all New York Publishers. By that time I had five completed manuscripts in my computer files, although my knowledge of acceptable writing was sorely lacking. After spending a good deal of money printing and mailing three chapters and a synopsis for the one I chose as a trial, I realized the project might not work for me.
The rejection letters piled up. Every one of them was a form letter. And I might go broke.
About that time, I joined Romance Writers of America in order to appear more professional, and also to receive their magazine.
The articles opened my eyes to facts I never knew: (1) most manuscripts were never read--only the first page before it was placed in the discard pile, (2) for every manuscript I submitted, that one was in competition with maybe ten thousand others, and (3), while a publisher opened submissions to new and unagented writers, the fact was that to land a contract as such an author was rare, indeed.
I abandoned the plan, and decided perhaps becoming a published romance author was not for me.
However, those RWA magazines opened another door. I learned that some contests were offered to unpublished authors, and most importantly, I could submit online. In addition, I would receive three critiques for each manuscript.
But the most important fact I discovered was some publishers were called "small electronic presses," and the contests were open to anyone who paid the fee. I invested a certain amount of money and began entering selected contests.
The contests opened the door. One of my contemporary romances, "The Stars at Night," won third place in one of the contests, and my name was published in an issue of Romance Writers of America.
Two good things came out of the contests:
(1) I made spread sheets of the positive and negative comments taken from the judges' sheets, thereby discovering my strengths and weaknesses as a writer. At last, my scientific background paid off. I used the negative comments--which were consistently the same--and began a steep learning curve.
2) I discovered numerous electronic publishers and a whole new world of opportunity.
Next Step: to land a contract with an electronic press.
Coming Friday--stayed tuned.
Becoming a Published Author
Part II: If It Doesn't Fit, Don't Submit
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
Sweethearts of the West-Blog
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