One of my young readers asked me if it was very difficult to get published and if I ever got rejected. This is my response. Please feel free to share it with any aspiring young writers that you may know.
Thank you so much for your wonderful letter. You asked me some very insightful questions and I will try to answer them as best I can. You wondered if getting a novel published is very hard. Today, there are many options for publishing, including traditional publishing with a company, self-publishing where you actually use the tools to publish your own book, or vanity (sometimes called partnership publishing) which I do not recommend, since those are companies that charge you money to publish your books.
I started out self-publishing and then was able to get a traditional publisher. I have a contract with them for six of my books. My first two novels are self-published. I have a ninth novel expected to be released in 2016. It took me five years to get a wonderful publisher. It can be a long process but it is definitely worth it. First, authors must send query letters to agents or publishers. These are letters that explain what the author is writing as well as the author’s request for an agent or publisher.
Authors send out many, many query letters before they get accepted. So yes, all of us get rejected by some agents or publishing companies. Famous authors, too, like J.K. Rowling and Stephen King. That’s just part of the business. It is nothing personal. The important thing to remember is to always have a polished manuscript before you contact an agent or publisher.
A polished manuscript is one that has few or no grammatical or spelling errors. The characters must be well developed and believable, and, the plot line must contain rising action, a climax and falling action. You should be learning all about this in your English classes. Sometimes books are rejected because the author did not take the time to proof read the book and have others proof read it first.
When your novel is ready to be published, you should ask some of your teachers to read it first as well as your school librarian. They can offer you support and suggestions.
Sometimes books are rejected simply because they are not what the agent or publisher is looking for at the time. Think of it like food. Sometimes you might be in the mood for a hamburger but not a pizza. That’s the same way in the publishing industry. Do not get discouraged and keep writing. If your first novel is not accepted immediately, work on the second one.
I know many authors whose first novels were not accepted but their second and third ones became very famous, such as the Twilight series.
You asked how I do it. Well, I come up with an idea as well as the characters. I use graphic organizers to outline my concept. (like webbing). There is no need for a formal outline when you are writing a novel since you are the only one who will be using it.
Then, I start writing. Sometimes as little as three hundred words a day and sometimes as much as three thousand. Each day is different. There is no right or wrong way for authors to write their novels. Each one of us has a different method. The trick is to keep writing every day or at least every other day so you don’t lose focus.
I hope this helps you out and I can’t wait to hear about your progress. Thank you so much for contacting me.
Ann I. Goldfarb