Breaking into the wide world of writing can be tough and that's why you need some hints for aspiring writers. It takes a lot of time, patience, and a thick skin to be a writer. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to make the journey to getting that acceptance letter and being a published author a little easier! Here are my best hints for aspiring writers.
1. Polish up Your Query Skills
The first thing most literary agents and publishers wish to see from aspiring authors (even before your manuscript) is a query letter. Learning how to writer a proper one is the best of all the hints for aspiring writers. A query letter is a one page letter, typically made up of three paragraphs. The first paragraph contains basic information about your book, like word count and genre. The second paragraph is a synopsis of your book, and the third should will list any publishing credits (like short stories) or credentials you have. Make sure your query letter is concise and interesting. This is the first taste a publisher or agent will get of your book, so you want to hook them in as few words as possible!
2. Know the Market
The literary market is constantly changing. A genre that is popular and selling one year may be considered stale and over saturated by the next. Make sure your book stands out by doing your research on the genre you choose to write in. Researching and becoming familiar with your chosen genre will help you to make choices with your writing that are original. This will also ensure that you don’t accidentally take another author’s idea!
3. Edit, Edit, Edit
Your story is on the page, so you’re pretty much done, right? Wrong! Many writers are surprised at just how time-consuming the editing process can be after getting a book accepted by a publisher. This is why you should do as much editing and polishing as you can before beginning the submission process. Getting that magical letter or email from a publisher requesting your full manuscript is your first step to getting published, so you don’t want to send them something filled with errors and typos!
4. Get Comfortable with the Submission Process
The modern literary age is a far cry from the days of sending a hardcopy of your query letter through the mail and waiting weeks or months for a response. Now it’s a much quicker, easier process to communicate with publishers and literary agents. There are multiple online data bases containing contact information for reputable agencies and publishers, and you can pick up a copy of "The Writer’s Market" at any bookstore. "The Writer’s Market" books are a great resource for aspiring writers. They contain helpful writing information along with contact listings for publishers and literary agents. What’s more, under each listing, there is a key informing you of what each agent or publisher is looking for. This lets you tailor your search, and ensures you are only sending your material to the agents that will find it the most intriguing. Also, familiarize yourself with the difference between literary agents and publishers. Today, many writers find having an agent to be a helpful middle man between the writer and a publisher. These agents work on the writer’s behalf to get them the best possible deal for a portion of the earnings. Many big-name publishing houses will only accept submissions from writers that have agents.
5. Never Give up
The most important thing an aspiring author should know is that rejection is a fact of life. It only takes one “yes” to get that book deal, but that path to “yes” can be fraught with a thousand “no’s”. You just need to know that a rejection is never personal. It does NOT mean you are a bad writer. There are tons of reasons you may be rejected. The genre you chose may be too over saturated at the moment, the agent or publisher just doesn’t have the time to devote to new writers, or your story just simply wasn’t what they were looking for. Don’t let rejection deter you. You never know which publisher or literary agent is looking for a book exactly like yours. Remember, even Stephen King was rejected when he started out!
The road to publishing can be rocky, and at times you may feel like throwing in the towel. Just know that if you truly believe in your story and have worked hard on it, you will eventually get that coveted acceptance letter!