As a writer you want to be published.
As a writer you also know that getting published can be difficult, but there are ways of making the task easier.
Recently I spoke to Alison Baverstock, a successful publisher, trainer and writer, who teaches publishing studies at Kingston University, about the problems writers face when they start to think about how to get their work into print. She has valuable advice to offer writers everywhere.
What’s the biggest mistake writers looking to be published make?
Quite a few writers try to get their work published too soon. They long for their book to be solid and real. They send it off to a publisher or agent before it’s ready to be published.
Writers need to gain a sense of themselves as writers before they submit their work. They need to develop the ability to structure their work well. They also need to seek feedback, and make their work as good as they can make it, before they send it to a publisher.
What do all writers need to know about the publishing industry?
They need to remember that publishing is a business. Publishers must make a profit from the works they publish. They are responsible for the money they spend and they must make good use of it.
Some writers think that if they just keep trying to get published, their turn will come. It’s not like that.
To succeed, writers must study the market.
They should read The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. Keep track of current bestsellers. Find out what’s popular in bookshops. Look for trends. Find out what people are talking about, and what they’re interested in.
What advice would you offer to writers about the task of writing?
Develop respect for the writing process.
Make sure you finish what you set out to do. Lots of people start books but don’t finish them. Starting a book is the easy bit. Completing the task is more difficult.
When you’re writing you need a structure to your day, if you’re going to write successfully. You need to set aside time to write.
You also need to remember that the world can be very unkind to writers, so you must believe in yourself and what you’re doing.
What would you advise writers who want to be published do to improve their chances of publication?
Get used to reading. Look at how other people write. Look for the structures in their writing. Reinforce this on the brain. Learn from others.
Take time to find out what other people find fascinating. Whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, do this. It will help you to decide what to write about.
Also, these days, it’s necessary to do more than write. You need to be able to speak coherently. You need to be ready to do television interviews or go on the radio. You need to speak with confidence as well as write well.
Alison is the author of a number of books for writers. One of her most recent works is: Marketing Your Book: How to Target Agents, Publishers and Readers – Alison Baverstock, (A & C Black, 2007). This book offers writers guidance on all aspects of marketing their books before and after publication.
“How to get published: a conference for writers” is a two day conference being led by Alison Baverstock at Kingston University on September 11th and 12th 2009.
Click here to learn more or telephone 020 8417 7790 for information.