5 Things I Learned About Publishing 

Almost 10 years and 7 books later, I learned that nothing is what it seems.  

My books have been published by St. Martins Press, Penguin/Putnam, and my writing has appeared in hi profile magazines like Newsweek, Glamour, and more.  No matter the recession, a good idea still sells.  True, the industry has changed and downsized but authors are getting signed everyday, and why not you.  The self publishing route is always there, but it takes time and money.  Getting published by a major will always be attractive to those who want to write and collect checks.  If you want to publish successfully, well, there are some things you should know.  Here’s what I learned:

1–A Good Idea Sells–Take time to develop your idea.  If you think it’s great and you can’t sleep at night thinking about it, I can find at least one person you thinks it is not.  You want an idea that people “get” right away.  The industry and its editors have very little patience for rambling explanations and long queries.  Make it good.  Make it quick.  Make it happen.

2–Agents Do Call Back–I can’t tell you how many times I hear people make excuses for agents like it’s dating.   “The agent didn’t call back.  He must be really busy.”  “The agent hasn’t emailed me back yet, they must be out of the office for the holidays.”  Believe this: If an agent is interested, they will call and email you back asap.  I’ve seen responses in as little as 3 minutes.  They know you are querying more than one agent.  They want you and you will know it.  When an agent’s really interested, there’s no guess work.

3–Editors Are Not Your Friends–When the deadweight needs to be cut at the publishing house, Editor Suzie has to do her job.  She has to say bye-bye.  No more lunches.  Emails.  Long talks over the phone about the ending of your book.  Just business.  Never take it personal.

4–Trailers, Blogs, Oh My–You need them.  Long gone are the days when the website and a press release is sufficient for promo.  Get creative.  With Flipvideo and Youtube anything can be put on the screen.  Blogs are living words, not static ones like a website.  You will attract new readers, and maybe get someone to pitch you for a change.

5–Be Prolific– If you have an idea that you’ve exhausted and evaluated many times, think of another one.  Sometimes you have to let certain ideas die, to get new ones.  Pretty hard, but even flowers do it.  That is what all the famous authors–Kings, Rowlings, Clancys, Collins, etc do.  They have a slew of ideas and they go through them one by one.  Get one, start another.  If you become a bestseller, your editor will want to publish them all.  No editor wants someone who is a one-hit wonder.

Maryann Reid is an award winning author and runs the popular  online Write Book Get Paid Bootcamp.  Next online cycle starts in January 2011 www.writebookgetpaid.com.