Q4U: Learning the Biz
“How do I get published?”
Usually the person writing has just finished writing either a novel or a memoir, and somehow they got my email address, and they want to know the next step. There is always a feeling in those letters that the writer believes it’s just a hop, skip and a jump to publication, i.e. “You tell me what to do, I’ll do it, and voila, I’ll be published.”
Can you remember when you were that person? When you knew nothing about publishing, you just knew you had something to say, and you knew others needed to hear it?
I have great compassion for this person because they just have no idea. They’re blissfully ignorant, and there’s a good chance their illusions are about to be shattered. If they knew that the pursuit of publication can easily become a full-time job all by itself, would they be so eager to do it?
I typically write back with a list of resources and Internet links, and I advise them to begin learning how publishing works, then make sure their materials are up to par (manuscript, book proposal or both), and begin querying. I tell them that unfortunately, as an agent I can’t help them until they’ve done the necessary homework to learn how the business works.
But I was wondering… how long does it take for the average writer to become pretty savvy about publishing?
You tell me: How long were you actively reading about publishing, reading blogs, attending conferences and networking with other writers before you felt like you were really starting to get a handle on this thing?
For those of you who are contracted with publishers or published: How long between the time you actively began teaching yourself about publishing until you received that first contract?
Maybe these answers will help me respond to the newbies who write.
Have a good weekend!