Yay! One of my fellow Clarionites, Dr. Phil,, has made his first sale! It’s a short story called ‘Pulse of the Sea’ and will be published in the Cascadia Con anthology.
I received another nice email with one or two questions regarding writing and publishing:
So my question to you is, how did you get started?
I always wanted to write, and so I just wrote. And read, and wrote, and read, and wrote, and so on. That’s the only way you can start. Everything else is just killing time.
Once you had created and massaged your first work, how did you get people to read your work and to sign you up to publish?
Most publishers who accept unagented material ask for the first three chapters plus a synopsis, and so I took the hard road of sending my work into the slush pile, and hoping that someone would take a chance on it. Luckily, someone did. I did not know anyone or have any contacts in the industry when I first began submitting. Which means, basically, that there’s no real magic to getting published (although there might be some heavy duty luck involved). You just have to write the best story you possibly can. Which isn’t to say you’re going to strike gold first time out, but it might get you closer to that golden line.
Some helpful sites are:
The truth, though, is that everyone’s path to getting published is a little different. I know some people who had an agent first, while others won contests and got noticed that way. The key is to do your research, but have your book done before you start contacting people. Most agents and publishers won’t want to talk to you unless you have a finished product in hand. And then, of course, thicken your hide and be stubborn. You’re going to fall down, but you have to keep picking yourself up, again and again.
Note: Brenda Coulter wrote a nice little piece on respecting writers, and the varying hardships of becoming one.