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What’s Standing In The Way Of Your Publishing Deal?
Most writers aspire to get their work published, and while there have never been more opportunities and help for indie authors to see their work in print, the dream of having one's book picked up by an agent or publisher is, for many, still the ultimate goal.
There is no denying that getting published is difficult and no matter how exactly you follow the submission guidelines if your work isn’t up to scratch, you may end up disappointed. However, there are plenty of things you can do to make sure you stand the best chance of success.
So what are the things authors do that stand in the way of getting an amazing publishing deal?
Submitting before their work is ready.
When you get to the end of your novel it can be very tempting to just start sending it off to publishers and agents immediately. You are so proud and excited by your achievement that you are blind to the fact it needs more work. Your elation gives you a false sense of bravado, otherwise known as the ‘my book is amazing’ feeling. However, if you don’t take the time to painstakingly review and edit your book you won’t be sending in your best work. You can’t resubmit your manuscript with a note saying ‘sorry, I’ve bothered to spellcheck it now’ so make sure you feel completely confident you have put your all into it, and it’s the very best you can do before you seal that envelope or hit the send button on your email.
Not sending it to the right people.
One of the main bugbears of agents and publishers is that authors send them their manuscripts even though they clearly don’t publish that kind of content. This will get your work chucked onto the rejection pile without so much as a second glance. Take your time to research publishers, find out what sort of genres they are interested in, and who exactly to send your work to within the organisation. Then, in your covering letter, explain exactly why you think your work is a good fit for them. If your work is particularly niche try to find specialist publication who might be interested in it rather than pinning all your hopes on a major mainstream one. Try to step back from your work, be distant and critical, step into the publisher's shoes. You are looking for what’s going to sell, how can you make your work more commercially viable?
Not putting the hours in
Some writers are so focused on getting that publication deal that they forget to write in the first place! Sending out queries is great, but if publishers ask to see more of your work and you’re not ready this will immediately raise flags for them. No one wants to work with an author who can’t deliver so make sure you get your writing done first, then start to enquire after it is finished and ready to go.
You aren’t focusing on what you are good at.
You are desperate to get your harrowing memoir about a rich daddies girl who loses everything published, but it’s your hilarious weekly blog about the exploits of your dog that gets the most engagement. Sometimes you need to understand what’s working and what’s not and let go of the latter.
You give up too soon.
It’s hard not to take rejection personally. But, as with any creative discipline, the sad truth is that it is so easy for talented people to be overlooked. Just because you receive a rejection doesn’t mean that your work isn’t any good. Don’t give up until you’ve explored every avenue, you never know, a publishing deal could be right around the corner!