Now that I have an agent, Linda Glaz from Hartline Literary Agency, I’ll tell you the deep dark secrets that every writer wants to know about how to get published. But you must promise to keep these under your hat. Don’t tell another soul.
Don’t Give Up. Publishing is a hard business. Competition is fierce. The writer who lands an agent is most likely the one who never gives up.
Learn All You Can About The Writing Craft. Most people with talent have worked hard to learn their craft. Talented athletes practice sports drills for hours a day. Musicians learn how to play their instruments. Professional singers hire voice coaches to perfect their singing voices. If those talents require honing, why do writers think they can sit down and writing without working at learning their craft and be able to write anything worth reading?
Write Another Book. I know. Your first book is your baby and the most brilliant idea you’ve ever had. But the truth is that no matter how many edits your first book goes through, it probably won’t be published first. This is true of 99.9% of authors. Stephen King’s first novel wasn’t published until he became famous publishing other novels. Mary Connealy wasn’t published until she wrote her seventh novel. So if you want to land an agent, write more than one book.
Don’t Self-Publish Your First Novel. Publishing is changing, and I’m not going to try to talk you out of self-publishing if that’s the direction you want to go. But I will tell you that if you don’t wait for traditional publishing for your first novel, the chances are it will stunt your growth as a writer. We, as writers, always think we’re ready to be published before we really are. Even if you succeed in self-publishing, you won’t perfect your craft to become a publishable writer if you take shortcuts. Here’s 10 Reasons I Decided To Become Commercially Published.
Work Hard. Nobody like to hear this. But the truth is, if we want to succeed at anything, we need to work hard at it.
Follow the Agent’s Guidelines. You may have a brilliant idea to get your submission noticed, but the truth is that professional submissions that follow an agent’s guidelines to the letter are so rare that it will get you noticed.
Research Agents. Many writers do blanket submissions to everyone and could wallpaper their bedrooms with the form rejections they receive. If you send your Christian romance to a agent who prefers erotic fiction, you’re going to be rejected. If you send your gritty western to an agent who loves historical romance and Amish fiction, you’re going to be rejected. Research what agents represent if you want to land an agent. Otherwise you’re wasting the agent’s and your time. Also make sure you check the agent’s rating through Preditors and Editors. There are many disreputable agents and publishers out there.
Go To a Writer’s Conference. Even if you don’t land an agent at a writer’s conference, you will make connections. Those connections might help you later.
Find Critique Partners. It’s hard to edit your own work especially when you’re just starting out. Get a group of critique partners who will point out where your writing needs improvement.
Join Online Writing Communities. ACFW, ChristianWriter.com, Absolute Write, and Edgy Christian Fiction Writers are only a few of the many writing communities out there. These communities are very helpful when you don’t know where to turn for advice.
Don’t Give Up. I know. I already said that one. But it bears repeating.
So now you know my secrets. What do you mean you’ve heard them before? Maybe that’s because they are the real steps on how to land an agent.