For those of you who are hoping/expecting to write something and become overnight sensations, let me be the first to tell you… well, keep dreaming comes immediately to mind. Honestly, I’m not trying to crush your aspirations. It’s just that overnight success usually takes a LOT of work in advance.
You might argue that people like JK Rowling, Christopher Paolini and the like were instant successes. To that I would suggest you dig into their publishing journey a little deeper. In both cases (and in dozens more) a lot of rejection and self-sacrifice happened before they hit the big time. The fact that they actually did have such astonishing success is a factor of luck as much as talent (some might argue luck played a larger part than talent, too).
I don’t want you to get the impression that I’m trying to dissuade you from writing or submitting your work. Far from it. I’m merely asking you to do so with your eyes wide open.
And with that, I want to explain the point of this post.
You have probably heard me preach about contacts and networking and the importance of obtaining publishing credits. The first two are relatively easy; you simply have to drag yourself, kicking and screaming, out of your shell and meet people. In person or virtually, both work.
Publishing credits are a little harder. Obviously, you need to write something and have someone (not your Mom, usually, btw) buy that writing and publish it. In the past the publishing would have been done on paper. Today you have many more options (paper IS still one of them): ezine, ebook, audio, video, magazine, book, etc.
I have heard people say go for the big market first. Hit up the top booksellers because you have just as good a chance to get published there as anywhere. I don’t necessarily agree with that philosophy.
To get into the big publishing houses, you usually need an agent and getting a reputable agent can be (from what I’m told) harder to do than get into a big publishing house. Sounds a bit like a catch-22 situation, doesn’t it?
But what about the dozens of smaller presses out there, both book and magazine? They may not publish as much in a given year (some actually publish more) but they need quality content just as much as the bigger presses do. They may not have the staff or the distribution of the big houses, but they can offer you many good things not the least of which is a publishing credit.
Your next question might be, “Great, but what good is a publishing credit?” Again, I will bring in anecdotal evidence that publishing credits tell the person you are submitting to that you can write. Another publisher has read previous work of yours and found it to be of a good enough quality to put in print. That makes you a lesser risk. That makes the chance that your submission will be considered.
That makes sense, doesn’t it?
That brings me (finally) to the point of this post. It’s OK to shoot for the stars, but it also isn’t a bad plan to get there in small steps. I plan to have many books in print one day. In fact, I expect to have many books in print. To get there I am networking and I am submitting my work to large and small presses. I am writing short stories and submitting those too. I’m working to get on the radar.
I am thrilled to be able to give you a positive update. One of my short stories has been picked up for publication and I am thrilled! If you are a listener of Get Published you will have heard me interview Carol Hightshoe (episode 27), author and publisher (http://www.carolhightshoe.com/). I submitted a piece of flash fiction to her magazine “Sorcerous Signals” (http://www.sorceroussignals.com/) at the beginning of March and Sunday she emailed me to let me know my story had been accepted.
It will be appearing in the August 2010 issue of “Sorcerous Signals” (ezine) and the August 2010 print issue of “Mystic Signals”. It also has a chance to make its way into her yearly Anthology, so fingers crossed. I guess that means my little story has two publishing credits coming up with a chance at three. It is an awesome feeling.