Last Week’s WW: Resolutions
See that cover? It’s got my fella‘s name on it. This will be the first thing that he’s published, and I’m very proud of him. But I didn’t just come here to brag. I came to offer a little advice: Publish!
It’s not an easy thing to do. Emotionally, any way. Publishing a work means letting it go. It’s putting it out into the world, hoping no one hates it, but accepting the possibility that they might, and being okay with it. It’s understanding that something you created isn’t yours anymore. It’s splitting open your chest and placing it’s contents out for all the world to see. It’s you at your most vulnerable.
It’s also you at your strongest. It’s showing the world and yourself what you can do. It’s proving that you’ve created something from nothing. It’s wearing your iron armor and walking otherwise naked into the streets. You’re strutting your stuff, and you want everyone to look.
Okay, fine, we’re bleeding and naked and we feel okay about it, hopefully. It still doesn’t answer the question: How do I publish?
There are many answers to this question. Of course, it’s starts with having something finished. Something that’s hopefully been revised a few times and edited and ready to make that march into the world. Once you have that, you have options.
You can hold out, wait for an agent, spend the time to craft the perfect query letter, revise it if needed, and try again until you get the elusive traditional publishing deal.
You can go for instant gratification. You can hop on to Amazon right now, upload your writing, your cover, and pick out some key words, and in a few days, you’ll have a self-published work. This option used to be frowned upon, but times have changed. It is a legitimate way to get started, with even the Big 5 going after books that originally started as self-pub. Some people are making real money this way. Of course, others aren’t selling any copies. There are no guarantees in writing. No get-rich-quick, fail-proof scenarios. And self-publishing takes a lot of work. You have to get your story edited, you have to get a cover, you have to do the marketing. Discoverability is, in my opinion, the biggest hurdle for self-published authors.
You can enter contest. I’ve enjoyed entering Writers of the Future. I’m sure there’s more like it out there. Google is your friend.
There are also magazines. Lightspeed is a popular one, and I know a lot of people who have been published in it. There’s also Asimov, Clarskworld, Analog… the list goes on and on. Check out their websites, see when they’re accepting submissions, and have something ready for when it’s open.
You can also do what I did: cyberstalk the authors you like, find out what they’re doing, and try to be a part of it. I joke, but it’s also kind of true. I followed Hugh Howey, who led me to Matthew Mather, and I think it’s from those two that I found a lot of my indie-author friends and even The Future Chronicles.
How’d I get published in The Future Chronicles? I followed and I asked. And then, when the opportunity came along, I submitted a writing sample. That was the bulk of it. I also supported them however I could. it’s always good to give back to the writing community. Those connections go a long way. And now, my fella, based on his writing sample, interest, and connections, has a story published in ALT History 102, which is published by Windrift Books also.
So, don’t be afraid. Pick a path, or try out few and see what works. What’s important is that you get out there. If you have a story, go for it. Or write a story with the ultimate goal of publishing in mind. You can do it. You should do it.