Secret Writer's Business
by Cheryl Wright
Every now and then, I get an e-mail
from a writer—the same writer each time. "What's your secret?" she asks. "How do
you sell so much of your work?"
Always the same question, always the same answer: There is no secret. You need
to constantly hone your writing, come up with ideas, then submit, submit,
On average, I send out AT LEAST three queries per week, sometimes three per
day. It all depends on what I have on my plate at the time, but I am
constantly submitting. If you don't submit, how can you sell your work?
I usually have around ten or more queries out there in the big wide world at
any given time. It is said, that on average, most writers receive one
acceptance for every ten queries. Yikes!
Sure, your writing has to be good enough to publish, but that's where honing
your writing comes in. Practice makes perfect, or at the very least, better.
If it doesn't, why doesn't it? If you get constant rejections and never any
acceptances, again, ask yourself why?
Read between the lines, and read those rejection letters over and over. What
is the editor really saying? For instance, I once had a rejection letter for
one of my novels. I was sorely disappointed but on re-reading the letter for
the fourth time, I suddenly noticed how the editor had ended the letter. "If you
have another manuscript in the future that you feel would be suitable for us,
I would be interested in taking a look."
Hmmm, I hadn't seen that line in the three previous readings. And I didn't
even need to read between the lines in this instance. What the editor was
saying is that she liked my writing, my style and voice, but that particular
story did not suit their current needs.
Keep your eyes open, and constantly look for appropriate markets. One way to
find new markets is reading articles written by other writers. Check their bio—where have they been published? Would any of those markets be suitable for
you? Search the Internet, find the publisher's guidelines and find out.
And no matter what, grow as a writer. If your writing is not improving, you
need to ask yourself why not, and do something about it. It may just be a
matter of reading some how-to books, or you may need to take a class or a
number of workshops. There are endless free or near-to free writing workshops
on the Internet.
Find yourself a writing buddy; someone who is either at your level, or
slightly above your level. You will help each other while at the same time
improve your writing skills.
There is no "secret" to writing. Just do it. Find suitable markets. Query.
Submit. Get published!
Cheryl Wright (also writing as
Andrea Higgins-Wright) is an Australian author and freelance journalist. In
addition to juggling an array of other projects, she writes a monthly travel
column for a magazine in the US. Cheryl publishes Writer to Writer a monthly
e-zine for writers of fiction and nonfiction, and is the author of
Outside the Square: Writing Publishable (Short) Stories available in pdf
Coming soon: Saving Emma available in pdf and paperback from Whiskey Creek
Press. Visit Cheryl's Web site: http://www.cheryl-wright.com