Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 - Your Year to Get Published!

I consider New Year's resolutions to be a culturally sanctioned form of torture, providing false hope for a week or two before plunging us all into a bottomless well of guilt for the remainder of the year.

Because I dislike psychological abuse, I have kept my writing resolutions quite reasonable over the years.

In 2013, I resolved to research my market. That was an excellent resolution, and one which I am still trying to fulfill. The obvious purpose behind researching my market was to develop a marketing plan well in advance of publication. It was a practical, if unexciting, resolution. One day I mean to keep it.

In 2014, I went for something more thrilling. I resolved to get more rejections than C. S. Lewis. He got 800, so it was a tall order to fill. Nonetheless, I am proud to say I did manage to get well over a hundred rejections (and I am still getting them!). I reasoned that by inoculating myself with repeated rejections, my work would eventually get accepted somewhere.

This year, I have set my sights even higher. My goal is to get published, come hell or high water. That means getting more stories published, writing essays, reviews, hmm ... I'll thrown in some irate letters to the editor - and while I'm at it, I'll publish my book.

Here is my plan. Feel free to join me.

Submit stories to publications that actually want them. Last year, I submitted my stories all over the place, and they racked up an impressive number of rejections. But, the literary magazines that eventually published my stories did so because what I sent them was exactly what they were looking for. This year, rather than blitz the market, I will spend more time reading the publications I am wooing in order to make sure they are a good fit. (Here is a list of 217 paying markets. Among those, there should be several that will provide good homes to our little darlings.)

Query agents who are looking for my genre - and style. Agents often list books they have enjoyed on their bios. They also give interviews. It's worth doing a bit of research before querying.

Submit to publishers directly. Once I have exhausted my list of agents, I will submit to publishers. I have assembled quite a list of publishers that accept manuscripts directly from writers.

Go about submissions systemically and doggedly. I used to submit to a few places and stop when I was turned away. My last year's resolution is still racking up the rejections, so by now my skin is nice and thick. I will not let rejections deter me.

Let's finish our projects, submit them, and get them published! This is our year!

Bookmark this post! When you get your story or article (or book) published, leave a comment.


  1. Thanks for the inspiration, Erica - and love your humor, as always!

    In late 2015 I made my first writing sale: a little 9,000 word novella. That felt great. Don't know if it published yet or ever will but this year I'm hoping - can't yet say "resolved" - to see something in print (or digital :)

    Thank you again for the regular shot in the arm and helpful tips in your blog.

    Chris in Canada

  2. I am a professional storyteller who works internationally who also happens to write books. I've been lucky enough to have five picture books published, but have received ten whole rejections for my novel. I must tell you, I have had my little dreams crushed by this cruel world. Got over it, but haven't put much time into really submitting my work since last year.

    Obviously I have not worked hard enough at going through the wonderful world of being told 'no' lots of times. So, I have decided that I will take up the baton you threw out there and will seek 800 rejections per book I'm trying to hock.

    That ought to keep me busy.

    I'm glad I ran across your blog while seeking someone who might be willing to take on the task of being an agent for some historical fiction!

    Good Luck to you this year!

    1. Go for it, Donna! I racked up 50 rejections last year (105 queries), and I'm counting on at least another 50 this year. Do look at the "Agents Seeking Clients" page on this blog. Those are agents who are actively seeking new clients, so your chances are much better.


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