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View Full Version : Can anyone offer any advice for an aspiring author



aluokaloo
March 26th, 2004, 03:57 PM
See I want to start publishing my poems and stories, but I'm not sure how to go about it. I've looked and I've read on info but it didn't seem to be much help, I think I need some advice from someone who has personal experience, tricks of the trade, formatting, no-nos, who to beware of, recommendations, that type of thing.

Yasmine Galenorn
March 26th, 2004, 05:45 PM
See I want to start publishing my poems and stories, but I'm not sure how to go about it. I've looked and I've read on info but it didn't seem to be much help, I think I need some advice from someone who has personal experience, tricks of the trade, formatting, no-nos, who to beware of, recommendations, that type of thing.

There are so many things to be aware of. First, I have a list of books I recommend for aspiring writers:

http://www.galenorn.com/teashop/default.asp?body=asrrlist.htm

Second, go to the library, in the reference section, and look for the current year's Writer's Market. There's also an on-line version (but you have to pay for that one): http://www.writersmarket.com/index_ns.asp

That will give you thousands of markets, what their requirements are, what you can send to specific publishers and what you can't.

In terms of formatting, SOP is:

standard, 20# bond white paper (copy/printer paper is fine)
print on one side of the paper only, leaving 1.5" margins all the way around
12 pt. Times New Roman or Courier font, anything italicized should be underlined instead.
Go easy on the ellipses (the ... 's) and bold.
Every page should have your name and the title of the work and the page number as a header, I always put it in the upper left hand corner but some authors locate it elsewhere.
Send ONLY your best work...no typos, double check and triple check before you send it off, do NOT spell the editor's name wrong in your cover letter (which will tell them who you are, what you're submitting, and if you have any prior history in publishing).
Don't staple or bind the pages with anything but a paperclip.
Don't use colored paper or funky fonts or try to bribe the editor (yeah, it really does happen)
Send an SASE (stamped, self-addressed envelope) if you want an answer from them and if you want the manuscript returned, be sure to include enough postage.
If one page gets dirty somehow, re-print it.

Prepare for rejection--it's going to happen at some point and quite a bit...but look at it as a proud scar that you're in the trenches and actually submitting.

Don't argue with the editors if they tell you no. Go scream and vent to friends, but not to the publishers. Then send out the ms. again to the next publisher on your list.

I've also got some FAQ's on my site about writing that may help:
http://www.galenorn.com/teashop/default.asp?body=asfaqlist.htm

Good luck! And don't get discouraged...it takes time to build a career. Also remember: you do NOT pay an editor or publisher to publish your work...it's the other way around.

Yasmine :colorful:

veinglory
April 5th, 2004, 04:34 AM
You might like to start with markets that accept online submissions. If there is pagan/occult content try magazines like Gaea's Cauldron (also a Paying market). Other than that it depends on your genre and style.

Kadynas
April 7th, 2004, 08:45 PM
Yasmine: Thanks for all the tips and love your website! :)

I've been thinking about writing something for awhile now... my main problem at the moment is that it seems like eveything I want to write has already been done or said! :lol:

Yasmine Galenorn
April 10th, 2004, 02:06 AM
Yasmine: Thanks for all the tips and love your website! :)

I've been thinking about writing something for awhile now... my main problem at the moment is that it seems like eveything I want to write has already been done or said! :lol:

Thanks. :) We work hard on it. Also, I forgot to mention: double space your manuscripts. Always unless it's for an on-line ezine.

LOL...well, you take a basic plot (boy meets girl, boy turns into alien monster from outer space, girl hits alien over the head, they realize they're actually long lost soul twins, fall in love, and have space-babies), and find a way to put your own spin on it...what do you have within you that's unique, that stands out and shouts 'this is ME'? The best way to write is to write from the heart of who you are, not from who you think you should be.

Yasmine :colorful:

Bec_W
May 25th, 2004, 01:39 AM
You could also self publish, there are a couple places online that offer self publishing either for a fee or as a pay-per-purchase type arrangement. http://www.lulu.com do print on demand (digital templating etc) which does make the end product more expensive but also means that you don't have to folk out wads of cash to start with. The only thing I'd say with self publishing is make sure you have your work professionally edited, remeber it's your name on the cover you don't want to be putting out works that need work.

Good luck!

Yasmine Galenorn
May 25th, 2004, 10:47 AM
You could also self publish, there are a couple places online that offer self publishing either for a fee or as a pay-per-purchase type arrangement. http://www.lulu.com do print on demand (digital templating etc) which does make the end product more expensive but also means that you don't have to folk out wads of cash to start with. The only thing I'd say with self publishing is make sure you have your work professionally edited, remeber it's your name on the cover you don't want to be putting out works that need work.

Good luck!

SP is usually the last resort for somebody who either hasn't managed to make it in traditional publishing or for somebody not looking to make a career out of writing (like a grandparent printing up their family memoirs to give to the grandkids). If you ever do decide to go that way, you're better off to have the book printed and bound at your local copy shop, secure your copyright and ISBN on your own, because you'll lose a whole lot less money that way.

SP is definitely not the way to go if you want to make writing your main career--traditional publishers won't view it as legitimate, you will lose almost all money you put into it, and bookstores won't carry your books unless you can personally talk them into putting a few on consignment (these are all just standard--and very true--publishing facts. The self publishing venue is just another word for 'vanity press').

So that's not something I ever recommend to anybody. A writing career takes time to build, like any career, and not everybody can hack it--it takes a certain talent, and beyond talent, it takes a whole lot of drive, perseverance and discipline. But in the end, it's worth it, if that's what you really want to do. Think of it this way: you don't pick up a violin without ever having put in practice time and expect to make a career out of being a violinist. You need time, you need to practice, and you need to study the masters. It's the same with writing.

Yasmine :bigblue:

Tanya
October 16th, 2006, 10:42 PM
I use Poet's Market.
1. Gird your loins for rejection,don't take it personally and consider editor comments.
2. Keep trying
3. Know your market,(find them through Poet's Market then look up their websites and read samples when I can get them. I don't bother if my work doesn't fit what they seem to like... wasted stamp.)
4. be polite to editors and follow their guidelines (they are often as poor and harried as us)
5. Send a cover letter always with a 3 line bio. DON'T EVER tell them why you are great, show them.
6. Stay away from contests, many are scams
7. work work work on your craft.

After a while you will build a list of 'friendly editors' I now have about 5 who regularly buy my work and another 12 that have once or twice. Once you've got a friendly editor who does books, prepare a manuscript and approach him/her about something bigger.


Personally I'm agains self publishing, I suppose its a point of pride, I accept I don't get paid much, but I hate the idea of paying to publish, and while many excellent things are SP, many others are of poor quality, and often SPs are pre-judged based on such poor quality work.

Good Luck

CzechWoods
October 16th, 2006, 11:50 PM
marking thread for further exploration laters :wave:

excellent question and even more excellent replies.

yasmine, i understand the vanity press thingy, but how about publishing of not novel like books, like books on paganism or certain topics other publishers dont want to touch.

isnt printing/binding your own copies a way of getting published at all, if all other refuse your work ?

not debating, just asking

dragoncrone
October 20th, 2006, 01:44 PM
Jim Bouton Edgar Rice Burroughs Oscar Wilde Ken Blanchard Robert Bly Willa Cather Pat Conroy Stephen Crane ee cummings W.E.B. DuBois TS Eliot Zane Grey Ernest Hemingway Robinson Jeffers Stephen King Louis L'Amour John Muir Rod McKuen Anais Nin Beatrix Potter Exra Pound Carl Sandburg Irma Rombauer Robert Service Upton Sinclair Edgar Allan Poe Walt Whitman Virgina Woolf Henry David Thoreau D.H. Lawrence Gertrude Stein William Strunk Leo Tolstoi...

...all of whom were at one point in their literary careers, self-published...
..just sayin'...:wave: