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Although most people in the publishing industry are working hard and reading submissions year-round, September and October tend to generate a special kind of enthusiasm and excitement. And while summertime submissions have certain advantages, autumn has a unique “get back to business” kind of energy. Literary journals associated with colleges and universities open their doors to new submissions when the fall semester begins. Those agents returning from vacation are focused on finding the next big thing.
Here’s What You Need To Do NOW To Be Ready For Autumn
Push to finish. Make a big push to get your ideas on paper. No more procrastinating—this is it. Dive into those half-finished short stories, and start sifting through poems to determine which are your best. Finish, finish, finish!
Refine. Once you’ve determined which submissions you want to send out in September, it’s time to refine your work. Bring your poems, stories, essays, or books to your critique partner or writers group. Proofread with a scrutinizing eye. Rewrite and revise until work that was “good” becomes work that is “excellent.”
Create a plan. If you enter the publishing-rush season with no plan and no specific goals, you’ll be less likely to stay on track. Rather than the sweeping, undefined goal of “I’ll get my book published,” make your plan more specific and manageable, such as, “I’ll submit my book to 50 agents in the next four months.”
Research. Your manuscript is ready and you’ve got a plan. The next step is to research literary journals or literary agents who are potentially well-matched to your submission. We know this is the step most writers dread. Good research takes a long time. It’s not just a matter of identifying a few dozen markets that are right for your submission—you also need to identify the hundreds or thousands that aren’t right. Don’t skimp on your market research. And if you can’t do it yourself (or just don’t want to), check out Writer’s Relief.
Chart submissions. Before you start sending out your manuscripts, prepare a chart so that you can track submissions and responses. Your chart should include the contact information of recipients, the date you sent your work, and the final response. This is crucial if you want to keep your submissions organized!
Plan to reward yourself. Just as important as planning and preparing your submissions is planning a reward for yourself when you’ve met your goals. Maybe your reward is a delicious pumpkin spice-flavored coffee or a new smartphone app you’ve been considering. Maybe you’ll just give yourself a day off. Whatever you choose, build rewards into your submission strategy and you’ll be more likely to follow through to the end.
Need Help Making Submissions?
For some writers, dealing with the hassle of making submissions is simply too much. If you’re frustrated by the submission process, you can get help. Right now, Writer’s Relief is accepting new clients. Writers who are accepted will be eligible for our time-saving submission assistance. It’s like having your own industry-savvy personal assistant working to help you get published!
That said, you don’t need Writer’s Relief if you’ve got the drive, focus, and dedication needed to make submissions. The autumn publishing rush is right around the corner: Use our suggestions to prepare now—and make the most of it when it arrives!
Photo by oscarandtara