Ever seen Toy Story? Remember the claw? This is how I like to think books get selected in the publishing industry. Randomly. Mysteriously. And instead of spending time badmouthing others, claiming I write Einstein compared to their Sponge Bob drivel, it’s better to respect the mystery.
Take timing, skills, market need, platform, and a little pixie dust and there you have it—the books that make it.
Take Care of Who You KnowYou’ve heard the expression it’s all about who you know. Well, not exactly. It does nothing to know people for the sake of getting ahead, for crab-stepping over others on your way to the top. It doesn’t matter if you’ve befriended unpublished women who love to read or bestselling authors. No matter whom you come in contact with, treat them well. With kindness, respect. Heck, throw a little pixie dust on them. We all could use more of that.
Refuse to Believe it Won’t Happen (in other words Believe it Will)I have absolutely no doubt my time is coming. I’m not a prophet. I’m not egotistical or unrealistic about my skill set. I often have days when I look at my work and cringe. But I work hard, refuse to quit, nurture a spirit of learning, and hold onto hope like an old lady does her purse. In fact, I often use hope to clobber lies over the head much like said old lady.
Polish up on Craft by Reading BooksRead well-written work. Read books on craft. Read to your kids. Read left. Read right. Read in the day. Read in the night. (Am I reminding anyone of Dr. Seuss’s The Foot Book?)
Invest in Time to Write & Be Willing to SacrificeWrite. Write. Write. 'nough said.
Meet Face to FaceGo to conferences. I loved meeting my agent in person. I met her before she was my agent. I always think fact-to-face impressions improve your chances in this industry. A passion for your novel shows when you’re pitching it. Your ability to connect with others and care shines through in especially noticeable ways in person, too.
Reach OutSend that random note raving to the author whose book you loved. Friend that writer on Facebook. Follow that editor on Twitter. What could it hurt? Take risks. Life is short.
Embrace a Spirit of LearningAbove all things (I write this because the publishing industry is ripe with moments for us to learn), embrace a spirit of learning. So much is turning on its head in this industry. Interactive books. Houses being gobbled up and bought out. Amazon (need I say more?). Self-publishing morphing from the red-headed stepsister into Cinderella. It’s worth it to pay attention, take notes, and keep an open mind. Recently I got put to the test on this. And I want to pass with flying colors.
What others ways can you think of to help propel yourself forward in publishing?*photo by stock.XCHNG