Do you want to maximize your chances of becoming traditionally published? Then take time to learn about the industry! This involves approaching publishing as a professional and learning as much as you can, both about the industry itself and about the craft of writing.
Ways to increase your knowledge
Below is a list of different ways to expand your knowledge. Some are free; some are not. Do what you can when you can, and save for the bigger things.
- Read. Read widely in your genre. Read widely among the newly published books in other genres, particularly the best sellers. Read to know what’s selling now and how it’s being written.
- Read industry blogs. There are lots of agents, publishers, and writers who keep regular blogs where they discuss the state of the industry, what they’re looking for, and insights into the publishing world. I’ll do a resources post that lists some of my favorites.
- Follow agents, editors, and writers on Twitter. Follow hashtags like #WritingCommunity and #MSWL.
- Read books on craft. Practice what you learn.
- Consider a membership to Publishers Weekly or The Hot Sheet. Neither is cheap, but they give you industry insights. Publishers Weekly focuses on traditional publishing deals. The Hot Sheet covers news about the industry (traditional and self publishing) as a whole.
- Classes. You don’t have to get a degree in Creative Writing, but classes can be a good thing. They expose you to different ideas and give you the opportunity for feedback and networking.
- Attend conferences. Some cater more to writing and some more to publishing. Read the descriptions and splurge on the one that best fits your current needs. Save money by attending local conferences. If you have to travel, try to split expenses whenever possible. Some conferences have scholarships or contests that cover the cost of conference fees.
- YouTube. Both authors and agents have made a plethora of information free.
- Participate on online forums.