Some of the most common questions I get asked working at a traditional publishing house are: Why go traditional in today's market? Why not self-publish? Aren't people making bank without all those hoops to jump through? My answer is always the same: There are pros and cons to both avenues. Here, I give you the benefits and drawbacks of each process and the information you need to decide what's the best route for you.
First, you need to know my background. I have worked in traditional publishing for six years, but I have also been heavily involved in the creation of a self-published book. This has given me enough knowledge, along with all the articles I've read on the subject, to speak on this topic. I have made a conscious effort to be as unbiased as possible. Without further ado, let's dive in, starting with the "traditional" route. ...
Whether you’re submitting a short story or a novel, formatting your work correctly is one of the simplest things you can do to give your piece a fighting chance at acceptance. The hard truth is that agents and editors are looking for reasons not to accept your work. They receive dozens of submissions every day, and incorrect formatting makes for an easy rejection. Why?
1. Correct formatting proves you can follow directions.
If the agent or publication has formatting specifics listed on their website, following them is easy. They don’t want to work with a writer who can’t or doesn’t care to follow simple instructions. If you can’t format your piece correctly for submission, you’re likely not going to be fun to work with during revisions.
2. Incorrectly formatted work is difficult to read.
Formatting rules are not arbitrary. When you’re poring through large amounts of submissions, readability is paramount. Formatting guidelines are designed to make the text easier on the eyes. The goal is to keep the agent or editor from thinking about the formatting at all. If they’re concentrating on how much the font hurts their eyes, they’re not thinking about your work. ...
Joseph Campbell's stages of the hero's journey inform a massive number of books, television shows, and movies. The structure is not genre-specific, and if you're not sure where your plot should go next, consulting the common path of the hero's journey is a great way to get the ball rolling.
This infographic breaks down Campbell's ideas to help you understand the pattern and apply it to your work. ...
As many of you know, this autumn Evolved Publishing will be releasing my first novel. The past few months have been a whirlwind of getting to know the Evolved team and editorial work. It’s been an eye-opening experience, and I’m so grateful to have the curtain lifted on this side of the business. But that’s a post for another day.
Parallel to the editorial decisions, there have been discussions about marketing, particularly cover and title considerations. This is a whole new ball game for me. Briefing a cover artist, what?! A title works in tandem with a book cover. They are like a pair of superheroes: Batman and Robin, Superman and Lois Lane, Danger Mouse and Penfold. They work together to attract your ideal reader.
Sometimes a title falls on your lap at the beginning of a project, and you know it is a perfect fit. More often, however, it’s a struggle to do justice to something you have been working on for months or even years. In these cases, a blueprint on how to find a title can be helpful. With the caveat that I’m no expert, I thought I’d tell you about my approach to picking a title. ...
Every now and then, a self-identified writer will say something that makes the rest of us cringe. Writers come from all walks of life. There are no prerequisites to becoming a writer, except passion and dedication, so there aren’t many things that writers have to do in order to write good stories. But there are a few. Here are some statements that are sure to generate eye rolls from a room full of writers.
1. I don’t have time to read.
Stephen King said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.” Are you really going to argue with the king? Seriously, a writer saying they don’t read is like a painter saying they keep their eyes closed all day. If you don’t study your craft, how can you hope to create anything you’re proud of? Of course, there are times when life takes over and it becomes difficult to fit anything except breathing into the day. But writers are readers, too, and most of us will find a way to devour at least a few pages before bed. ...
Writers who are short on time need to be as efficient, effective, and productive as possible.
Writing sessions should be spent writing. That's why they're called "writing sessions". But oftentimes, things feel out of place, making effective writing time during designated writing sessions difficult. It's easy to let procrastination interfere, or to let excuses keep you from meeting your writing goals.
We need to set aside some time, whether it is five minutes or 15 minutes, before our writing sessions so that we can be prepared when we actually sit down to write.
Have you ever sat down to write, but couldn't think of anything to write? Or have you ever sat there with no words coming out because you weren't sure which scene you were going to write? Or maybe you wanted to write a particular scene, but some other scene wanted attention first and you fought with it?
I highly recommend setting aside some time to figure out your plans for your next writing session. That way, when you sit down to write, you can work on that plan and knock out a writing goal.
To help you have a productive writing session, here are some things you should do before you begin to write. ...