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Have you fallen victim to any of these common lies that are spread throughout the publishing industry?
These typical bits of misinformation may look harmless—but if you’re not aware of them, they can do big damage to your career and your outlook on life.
Lie #1: You have to be published to get published.
Many writers hide behind the idea that “you have to be published to get published” because in some way this belief lifts the responsibility of publication from a writer’s shoulders. But we at Writer’s Relief have seen previously unpublished writers get huge accolades from major industry professionals—on MANY occasions.
For example: One unpublished client of ours had his first short story published in a literary journal—only to see it not only nominated for but included in a Best New American Short Stories anthology. How’s that for not having any experience? We’ve also seen writers with no publication credits land major literary agents.
Lie #2: Self-publishing is the only way to get a big New York publisher to pay attention to you.
While many self-published books are accepted by New York publishing houses after they have sold like hotcakes, the fact remains that many books that are being published by traditional publishers are getting there via traditional routes. However, many authors are finding success by self-publishing their rejected manuscripts and selling them as much as possible. If you’re one of these authors and your rejected book goes on to do extremely well after you publish it yourself, you can always go back to literary agents and editors (if you want to!).
Lie #3: If you land a traditional publishing contract, you don’t have to worry about doing any publicity for your book.
Whether you are planning to self-publish or try for a traditional publishing contract, you’re going to have to do a lot of self-promotion and publicity. Your author platform is what will sell your books. It’s a nice dream to think that writers can go back to the old days when a few book signings were enough to constitute a promotional campaign. The sooner you start thinking about your online writer platform, the better! (And if you haven’t already checked out Web Design Relief, now’s the time.)
Lie #4: You have to know somebody.
Some people believe that if you want to get a literary agent, you have to schmooze and network first. And while it certainly doesn’t hurt to meet with people face-to-face, the cool thing about creative writing is that it’s not necessary to do a lot of networking. At the end of the day, the most important part of your writing career is your writing.
Lie #5: “Small” publishing credits don’t help much.
Small publishing credits—whether in your local paper or in a startup literary journal—can be hugely helpful to your writing career. They open the door to bigger publications. They get the ball rolling. They also help you make connections and demonstrate that you take your work seriously enough to submit. Watch for more information about this in a forthcoming article via our e-publication, Submit Write Now! Or learn to build your publication credits super fast!
Lie #6: All writers must “put in their time” and suffer a little while building their careers.
Sometimes, negative thoughts like this can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you are slogging through a frustrating submission process because you believe you have to “suffer for your art,” it may be time to take a new approach. Contact Writer’s Relief: We can make your submission process a lot easier. When you feel better, you write better. And you don’t even have to feel guilty about it! Just contact us, and we’ll send you more information about our very affordable (and 100% personalized) author’s submission services.
Lie #7: The publishing industry is dying.
False! The publishing industry is changing but not dying.
There’s never been a better time in all of human history to be a writer. Right now there are more options than ever before for writers who want to get published. You can publish in print, online, or even in audio form. You can publish with a traditional publisher or with a self-publishing company. Plus, more people are reading and buying books than ever before!
Lie #8: Literary agents are no longer necessary.
More and more, writers are opting not to contract with literary agents for their books. However, many forward-thinking literary agencies are willing and even prefer to work with authors who are self-published as opposed to traditionally published. And with more choices on how to get a book out into the world, having a literary agent can be a lifesaver when it comes to long-term career planning.
Literary agents know which genres are selling well in digital form and which are doing well in print. They know which self-publishers are great and which are not-so-great. Some literary agencies have contacts with the people who are in charge of marketing and promotion at book retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble—and that can mean the difference between your book wallowing or hitting a bestseller list.
So while literary agents may not be strictly necessary—especially for successfully self-published authors—they can be intensely beneficial.
Photo by tq2cute
Ronnie L. Smith, President of Writer’s Relief, Inc., an author’s submission service that helps creative writers get published by targeting their poems, essays, short stories, and books to the best-suited literary agents or editors of literary journals. www.WritersRelief.com