Monday, December 31, 2012


(c) Alison Bate 2011

If there's something I learned from coaching writers towards publication it is that 99 percent rush the process for their first book. And, it's a crying shame!

Most of my clients come to me too early -- years too early. Often writers start enquiring before their first draft is finished. Some have not even read their manuscript all the way through; others haven't checked to see if a similar book has been published; many haven't had any experienced author read/critique their work; and a few have no idea they must adhere to the publishers' rules for writing and manuscript preparation.

Before you call me, clients should have already:
  • Researched similar books that have been published already to ensure yours is a fresh idea
  • Taken some workshops, virtual or live, and read books on craft and how to get published
    Book cover (Dust jacket) for the 15th edition ...
    (Photo: Wikipedia)
  • Attended a writers' group for experienced feedback on your genre and writing
  • Been to a writers' conference and see what it takes to get  published
  • Engaged in your local writing community - there's lots of guidance to be found there
  • Bought and used the Chicago Manual of Style  - there are conventions to be followed that publishers demand
  • Revised your manuscript - at least four to five times
  • Had a professional editor polish your writing to a high gloss
  • Built your audience as you work on your ms.

This process can take several years after writing the first draft of your first book. For example, my first nonfiction book, Through a Canadian Periscope, took eleven years from concept to launch, and the average for first novels is the same.

Once you've done the above and not before, you're ready for assistance in submitting your book for publication, either to a commercial publisher or for self-publication, in print or electronic versions.

It's worth the time, if you want your baby to be safely delivered to booksellers and your readers, and most importantly be bought.

Related article:
"How long should you keep trying to get published?" by Jane Friedman here. (Fleshes out what I've written above, and is quite the best article I've read on the subject.)
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