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Getting Published

Nearly every writer ultimately wants to get their work published – read these blogs for tips and tricks on how to make it happen, from the authors who've already done it and the experts in the industry.

Putting That Completed Novel to Work

Writing advice

Whilst I was ensconced in writing my novel, I used to see competitions advertised for unpublished manuscripts and fantasise about a time when I would be in a position to enter. The allure wasn’t so much the prizes on offer as the satisfaction of having a finished product at my fingertips which I could fire off at will. I longed to be able to able to say, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll give that one a go.’  Well, now I can.

But what is the point of entering? It’s not like I’m seriously expecting to win anything. I’ve never won a competition in my life. What other benefits might be gained from pitting my MS against hundreds, if not thousands, of other hopefuls?

Well, firstly, when putting together a competition submission, I inevitably find myself taking another look at those opening pages or chapters.  I view my submission from a fresh perspective. I wonder what the competition judge will make of it and how it will compare with all the other entries. …

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Post-Submission Decisions

Writing advice

Each step along the path to publication throws up fresh dilemmas. I had assumed, once I’d sent off my opening chapters to agents, that I’d have no more decisions to make in the submissions process. But this was not the case. Almost immediately, I began asking myself questions like, how long I should allow for a response and what action should I take when I receive one.

 The advice I gave myself to the first question was to be patient. Agents are busy people, as we all know. They will always prioritise their existing authors over any potential newcomers. But, they will get around to reading my work eventually, because they have to find new authors too. It just takes time. Most agents post guidelines on their websites as to how long you should allow before chasing a submission. I would be inclined to allow longer. I know, in my own life, that targets are often missed and it can be annoying to have this pointed out.

 Next question: how do I respond to the responses? When I do …

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Leapfrogging the Slush Pile

Writing advice

When preparing my submission for agents, I did everything I was supposed to do. I made sure my opening chapters were the best they could be. I wrote a succinct synopsis. I composed a professional and engaging cover letter. I researched which agents were likely to be interested in my work and prepared to send it to a small selection.

Then what? Then, I would wait and stare down the silent weeks and months ahead. My submission would wend its way to the bottom of some tall, teetering slush piles. The agents concerned would get around to looking at it at some point, eventually, in some brief window of time during their busy schedules. They would be looking for a reason not to like it.

I decided this would not do. I wanted to take a more pro-active approach. There must be other ways of connecting with these people. But, apart from stalking and accosting, how?

Well, it turns out there are events specifically designed to bring agents face to face with aspiring authors. …

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The Waiting Game

Helen Jones

Helen Jones, a writer currently seeking representation for her YA series, discusses her experiences of searching for an agent, developing a thick skin and not giving up.

I love to write, and in recent years have been lucky enough to get paid to write for other people. But now I’m making my first foray into fiction and am finding that this is a whole new ball game. Just over a year and a half ago, I sat down and started writing my first book, and about a year ago sent out that first effort to a small group of agents. Ha. What I discovered was that I have a great deal to learn so, being of an enquiring mind, thought I’d better get on with it. And here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

Once you’ve written your story, you need to show it to people. Get used to it. It is, after all, why we’re writing. I’ve had work published in different magazines and, at the time, was very proud to show people, buying multiple copies for family and friends. …

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Firewords Quarterly: An exciting opportunity for emerging writers

Firewords Quarterly is a newsprint magazine packed full of powerful fiction and poetry - all enhanced by bold design.

This independent publication was set up by a small group of creatives who were frustrated with writing magazines that concentrated on substance over style, or vice versa. Firewords Quarterly aims to have an abundance of both: fantastic creative writing enhanced by original design and illustrations. The team strives to make short fiction and poetry more accessible and, above all, provide a stronger platform for new writers to have their writing seen and remembered.

As well as the teaser issue (shown here), the first edition is already in production, with submissions currently open, until 15th April, for short fiction (under 2000 words) and poetry

Each quarterly will be based on an exciting theme, although any topic is accepted. What counts is the originality and flare of the work in question. Click here to read the submission guidelines.

The first …

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