Ever wonder why ballet dancers spend so much time doing barre work (lots of toe pointing and repetitive arm lifting) when they could be dancing instead? It’s because their art form stresses a practice that many writers tend to forget over time: the importance of returning to the basics, again and again.
If you’re just starting to develop a submission strategy, or if you’re feeling like your existing strategy isn’t getting results, it may be time to step back and review the fundamentals.
5 Submission Strategy Fundamentals That Get Results
Good submissions require some business savvy. Many writers jump into sending out submissions without bothering to learn how the publishing industry works. They send query letters that don’t meet submissions guidelines, they submit manuscripts that are not formatted to industry standards, and then they break the rules with inappropriate communication and follow-ups. Getting published requires common sense, patience, and some publishing industry etiquette. Fortunately, you’re reading this blog, so you’re already on your way to a better understanding of how to get published.
The best writing submission in the world won’t succeed if it’s sent to the wrong person. If you send your submission to twelve potential markets and all twelve of them pass, don’t lose hope. You didn’t fail; you just haven’t found the right fit. Yet. Your goal in making submissions isn’t just to send your writing to any random literary market: it’s to send it to the RIGHT one. And that means doing a lot of research.
Submission success is often a numbers game. Getting your submission into the right hands involves a certain amount of trial and error. That’s why stories about famous writer rejection letters are so ubiquitous in the writing community; everyone gets rejected. A lot. There’s only one solution: try and try again. And again. And then, when you can’t try anymore—keep trying anyway. You could be only one “click to submit” away from getting an acceptance!
There are lots of fish in the sea. Writers get their hearts broken, especially when rejection letters come from top-choice literary agents or top-tier literary journals. But the good news is that there are more opportunities to get published than ever before. Because of the diversity in the publishing industry, we believe there is a reader/publisher/agent out there for every worthy piece of writing. The trick is to keep fishing to see if you’ll get any bites.
Everybody starts at zero. You’ve heard the hype: You have to be published to get published. You have to know someone to get a literary agent. You have to be famous to get a book deal. These excuses give a writer permission to self-sabotage his or her writing career.
Here’s the truth: Everyone is an unpublished writer at some point. Plus, literary agents and editors of literary journals love the thrill of discovering new, unpublished authors and introducing them to the world. Even if you have no publishing credits, your author bio—combined with your natural talent—can wow readers. Again, it’s a matter of connecting with the RIGHT recipient.
More Submission Strategy Fundamentals: Beyond The Basics
Developing an effective submission strategy is not an easy task. A successful submission strategy requires that writers balance many different emotional and physical elements: confidence; free time for research and submission prep; publishing know-how; intimate knowledge of individual literary markets; resolve to be unswayed by rejections; goal setting; great organizational skills; expert proofreaders—and, of course, a dedication to high-quality writing. Is it any wonder so many great writers fail to make great submissions?
The good news is, you don’t have to go it alone (unless you want to). The team here at Writer’s Relief loves helping writers get published or get literary agent representation. We’ve been working with writers since 1994, so basically, we wrote the book on how to make effective, successful writing submissions. If you’d like to be considered for client representation, send your work to our Review Board today!
QUESTION: What’s your best tip for developing a strong submission strategy?