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The Secret to Getting Published

Updated on August 16, 2012
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Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

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You've got a story written. You really feel like it is good. Maybe you should get it published. How? You hear of so many who don't make it.

The truth is that anyone can get published. You just increase your chances when you know the secrets to getting your book published.

Write Well

This might appear to be obvious, but sadly it is not. You have to write well to be published.

When I say that you have to write well, I don't mean that the first words you put down are ready for the bestsellers list. Trust me, the first words are usually horrible. They should be. Writing well means that you have gone over what you have written and smoothed it out. It also means that you have delivered the message you want your work to convey as well as done it in a manner that has the reader wanting to finish it.

If your words are too confusing or the entire storyline including plot and dialogue are too boring, your have not written well. Your readers won't finish what you've written.

How do you learn to write well? You practice. You study. You practice. You listen to advice. You practice. Oh, and did I say you need to practice?

Take a writing class. Talk to other writers. Talk to readers. Get second, third, and fourth opinions. Keep improving.

Get Your Work Edited

I cannot stress enough how important this is. Your work should be edited not once but several times. Have a friend look over it, but trust me that is not going to be enough. Why? Because it always needs improvements and your friends aren't experienced in it.

Editing involves examining the plot, the flow of the work, the sentence and paragraph structure, how chapters are laid out, development of characters, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and the overall look of the work. It even involves fact checking.

Let me give you a personal experience I just faced. I wrote a scene where the police and paramedics arrived on an accident scene. I wrote it completely wrong. An editor read it and stopped right there. She couldn't go on. Why? Because it was all wrong. That was not correct procedure. The facts were not right.

How many times do you edit your work

See results

Listen Carefully

Listen to the advice of others. If they say a scene just doesn't work, don't ignore them just because you love the scene. When the reader can't get it, it doesn't work. It needs to go. Cut it out.

Listen to your editor and reviewers. They will see things you can't. They are not personally vested which means they can see the whole picture and not just what they want to see.

Be Openminded

In getting published, don't limit yourself. Don't focus just on novels. Think of short stories. Look to magazines and journals to get your short stories published. This can help you get a following for your novels.

Getting published does not just mean a two hundred page book. You can be published in a number of ways. Look them over and see which ones better suit you. Some authors only write short stories and eventually publish them all in books.

Publish Yourself or Go With a Publisher

When I say that anyone can be published, I literally mean it. You don't have to go through a publisher. You can self-publish. This works great for a lot of writers.

Or.... You could go with a publisher. These are usually harder to get if at all. You might have a better chance with a smaller publishing firm.

By publishing yourself, you don't have to hope a publisher will choose your work and wait months if not years to get that acceptance letter. You can publish easily and quickly. The problem with this is you still need to get an editor, you have to do all your marketing, and you are the only one pushing your book. Though you do get to keep more of the money.

Publishers have more resources to help you get your book out to more people. They also promote your book. They are hard to get accepted by and keep a percentage of the money for the expense of getting your book published.

Be wary of any publisher who charges you upfront for publishing. They are not publishing companies. They are vanity presses.


Expect Rejection

If you choose to go with a publisher even a smaller one, expect rejection. Most authors will receive numerous rejection letters before they get accepted. Don't take it personally. Read the letter. If you are lucky to be given reasons why you were rejected, take a good look at them and see how you can apply it to improve your work.

My publishing company sent a rejection letter to a young writer suggesting that she update it as it had not been changed in ten years, work on the wording, and get releases for the pictures she wanted to use. We then suggested she contact us again after doing that. She got very angry that we would reject her. She is lucky we tried to help her. Most publishing companies won't.

Rejection can be good. It can help you do better.


You need to be determination. Don't let the fear of rejection stop you. Don't let any rejection letters stop you. You need to keep trying. Keep writing. Maybe the first book or two are not the ones to be published first.

Determination will be the key as well as writing well to a well received published book or one that just sits longing to be bought.

A markerSilver Tongue Press -
Milwaukee, WI 53224, USA
get directions

A small publishing company who works to help authors achieve their dreams.


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    • Robin Beck profile image

      Robin 3 years ago from Cape Town South Africa

      I enjoyed the way you set this out. Spot on!

    • Maddie Ruud profile image

      Maddie Ruud 5 years ago from Oakland, CA

      Expert advice for any writer. I'll be keeping this handy for my own writing!

    • Anju Arya profile image

      Anju Arya 5 years ago from India

      I think your hub inspires much to go on in the field of writing and getting published. If our creation have been rejected it would definitely any of our mistake in our creation but in the excitement of getting publish and due to the lake of patience we feel very bad which is not healthy for our writing. Thanks to take me notice about this.

    • kissayer profile image

      Kristy Sayer 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I like that you included expect rejection because a lot of people will quit the first time someone says no. It's really important to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep on going. Writing is much like food, what some like, others don't!

    • HendrikDB profile image

      HendrikDB 5 years ago

      Thanks for the tips!