Updated August 2023
Most writing advice articles talk about all the things you should do to improve your writing and boost your odds of getting published. But at Writer’s Relief, our experts know it’s just as important to know what you shouldn’t do! With over 29+ years in the publishing industry, our experts have seen it all! Along with watching writers use smart submission strategies to effectively build their publication credits, we’ve also spotted writers making unintentional blunders that hurt their odds of success. Here are three key things savvy writers should never do (and one great bonus tip!):
Here’s What Writers Should Never Do
Never Stop Learning
Whether you’re a new writer or one who’s been published, there is always more to learn about writing and making effective submissions! You can listen to podcasts about writing and read informative blogs (like the one at Writer’s Relief!). And be sure to check out workshops, online classes, and writing groups where you can study with other writers and get feedback from your peers.
Never Stop Reading
It’s easy to get so caught up in your own writing that you don’t make time to read other authors in your genre. Or you might stick to reading the classics while neglecting to read new voices. If you want to know what’s trending with literary editors and readers, you need to spend some time reading—think of it as enjoyable research! Ask bookstore workers and librarians for suggestions on new writers who are breaking into the industry, and subscribe to literary journals where you want to submit work.
Never Forego Self-Promotion
Yes, we know, you’d rather be writing than spending time promoting your work. But in today’s publishing industry, readers, editors, and literary agents expect to be able to connect with you. And the competition for attention is fierce. Using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Substack, Bluesky, and Mastodon can help you reach a wider audience and network with other writers. Reaching out to other writers may seem intimidating, but odds are they’ll be happy to hear from you. Instead of seeing other authors as competition, see them as an opportunity to collaborate and reach more readers: You can promote their work, and they can promote yours!
Nowadays, whenever anyone wants to know anything, they turn to the Internet. Having an author website makes you more findable, and you control the message for your visitors. You can include photos, links to your published works and to purchase your book, and even an event calendar to highlight upcoming reading events. The design experts at Web Design Relief can create a professional author website for you that suits your style and your budget.
Bonus Tip: Never Self-Reject!
Maybe you’re convinced your writing isn’t “good enough” for a journal you really like. Or you might be certain your book wouldn’t interest literary agents. These are classic signs of impostor syndrome, and you shouldn’t let it stop you from making submissions! If you’ve read the submission guidelines and your work aligns with what the literary journal or agent requests, go ahead and give it a try! You won’t know if your writing connects with readers unless you make submissions. And don’t take one rejection as evidence your writing isn’t any good. Getting an acceptance is a numbers game, and it can take 100 submissions to get one acceptance.
If you want to boost your odds of getting an acceptance, the experts at Writer’s Relief can help! We’ll research and target the best markets for your work. Learn more and submit your writing sample to our Review Board today!
Question: What do you think a writer should never do?