Here are 10 ways NOT to get published – unfortunately, most of them are tried and tested.
- Stick to your first draft. After all, your writing is perfect as it is. Who needs an editor?
- Revise, revise, revise, revise. It’s just not 100% perfect yet. Chuck Sambuchino from Writer’s Digest suggests changing one word at a time, then rereading the entire novel aloud to see if that actually improved the book.
- Get creative. Cut your manuscript into a cute bunny shape. Include plastic spiders if your manuscript is a horror tale or rainbow glitter if it’s a romance. Try adding a chocolate bar bribe – especially if you’re sending the manuscript to a publisher in Florida in mid-Summer.
- Ignore the market. You don’t have to read in your genre. So what if the average first novel runs around 80,000 words? Yours is 500,000 words and every single one is essential.
- Hand-deliver your manuscript. Editors really aren’t busy. They love personal visits, especially if you show up unannounced.
- Blast the competition. Leave horrible reviews for every other book in your genre. Bash other writers on your Facebook page. After all, they’re the enemy, right?
- Get defensive. Be like The Donald and defend yourself vigorously against every critique. After all, you’re an artist. They’re just not intelligent enough to understand you.
- Threaten the editor. If you do get a rejection, immediately lambaste the fool who couldn’t spot your genius. Let him or her know you’re not going to stand for such humiliation.
- Ignore your audience. After all, everyone is your audience. Grandmothers and toddlers both will love your book. Your gun-toting Uncle Bob will give a copy to pacifist cousin Willy. Middle school kids will adore you. Who needs to specialize?
- Keep it to yourself. Nobody can hurt your feelings if you just shove that manuscript into a drawer and sit on it. Those nasty editors and their rejections? Who needs them?
What are some un-helpful things you’ve seen writers doing to sabotage their careers?
What do you get for that writer in your life?
Here are some great gift ideas for you:
- Software: Scrivener is one of the best writing platforms out there in my humble opinion – it’s $45 (unless you won NaNoWriMo and got the discounted price) and it’s fantastic. It’s like a virtual cork board where you can post not only your scenes (and move them around however you want), but research ideas, websites, photos, character sketches and settings.
- A spa day: check out your local spa and get your writer away from the keyboard for a couple of hours of relaxation. They’ll thank you afterwards.
- A new notebook – Here’s a great Top 10 List of the sorts of notebooks out there today. I like Moleskine myself, but there are lots of different types available. Pick something your writer would love.
- A keyboard for their iPad – I’ve got one of these and it’s great. You can type just like a laptop, but you’ve got the portability of the iPad. Plus, it comes in a nice leather case.
- A laptop bag or general tote bag – there are so many choices out there that I’m not going to pick just one. Browse your local leather store for a high-end bag, or just check out Amazon or Cafepress.
- A magazine subscription – get your writer a subscription to their favorite magazine, whether it’s Writer’s Digest or Poets & Writers.
- A writing conference – for this, you’ll have to either consult with your writer or be super-sneaky because you have to know which conference your writer wants to attend. Either pay the entire fee or contribute toward the total. This might make a good group gift.
- New pens – you can spend anything from a few bucks to several thousand, depending on what sort of pen you’d like to gift.
- Free time – arrange for your writer to have the time they need to write. Do the chores for a day. Take the kids to the zoo. Give your writer a day at a local hotel. Whatever it takes.
So you hit 50,000 words in November — or maybe not quite so many. Now what?
Once you’ve got your first draft down — or at least gotten a good start on one! — what should you do now?
- Put the blasted thing away – you heard me. Put it into a drawer and forget it for a few weeks. Close the file (remember to save your work!) and start something else. You need a bit of time before you can start editing your draft, so you’ll see it with fresh eyes instead of overlooking things because it’s old and tired to you right now.
- Start something new – edit an older draft. Start a new project. Do something completely different. You’ve been cooped up with that draft for 30 days now, and both of you need some space. Shake things up and do something else for a bit.
- Focus on the holidays – did you forget it’s December? You’ve got decorating to do and gifts to buy and traditions to uphold!