So you've finished your literary masterpiece. It's been written, edited,
rewritten, re-edited, re-written again, tossed out the window, gathered up again,
burnt, reconstituted from the ashes, rewritten a third time, and finally reached
a high-enough quality that you can show it to someone without hiding under a rock
while they read it. Now you are a success, right? You'll have your own assistants
with matching Blackberries and matching Blackberry leather cases to arrange all
your book signings, dates with fancy people, and mountainous piles of money, right?
Sorry. Your assumptions are completely and entirely wrong. If you thought your
days of struggling financially were over, you're going to be disappointed. The
hard part is not over. It's only just beginning. Because now that the
writing's done, you have to convince someone to publish it, turn it into
a movie, paste it onto a billboard downtown, or whatever it is you imagined
would happen to it. And since your aforementioned lack of cash prevents you
from distributing your own work, you're going to have to submit it to
someone else. But submitting your work to a distributor really isn't that
traumatic if you prepare yourself adequately. So take a deep breath, read some
of those inspirational quotes you find everywhere,
and read on for some important advice.
The most important preparatory step you can take is to do your research. You're
much less likely to be rejected if you carefully select the people you intend
to submit your work to, instead of just blanket-bombing the industry. You wouldn't
submit a comprehensive factual article on real estate to a sci-fi magazine, and if you did, you would be rejected out of hand. It's
not just about the quality of the work. It could be the best real estate article
they'd ever seen and they would still turn you down because their magazine
only publishes articles that have to do with science or science fiction. A large
part of all rejections received by writers cite this circumstance as the reason
for it, and it's not because they're trying to let you down easily.
It's the most common mistake writers make.
So how do you avoid having your manuscript or story or article or screenplay
rejected? Simple. Follow our guidelines on where to submit your work.