In Praise of the Educated Writer
While I've been in the publishing community many years, I continue to learn new information all the time. I'm committed to a life-time learning process. I've watched several of my writing friends who stop learning and figure they have reached their level in the market.
From my experience, this attitude of arrival is self-fulfilling for them as I also watch the stall of their careers. Authors with this attitude only get to workshops when they are teaching and don't read how-to magazines or books. I encourage you not to fall into this attitude trap—no matter where you are on the spectrum of published authors.
There are many ways for writers to get educated and here's a few of them:
--one on one mentoring or coaching
--blogs and other online articles
--online courses like my Write A Book Proposal course
From my experience, I know a great deal of publishing is about being in the right place, at the right time, with the right material—timing is crucial. As someone who has reviewed thousands of manuscripts and book proposals, I can read a few paragraphs and know whether the writer is educated about the market and publishing.
The opposite is also true. I can tell whether the writer has sprayed their proposal far and wide without any thought about what our publishing house is producing. Recently an author mailed a self-published book to the Morgan James office in New York City. A little online research would tell you quickly that I work remote and live in Colorado. Our office forwarded the book to me and I opened it. First, I was amazed at the size (over 700 pages) then I looked at the title and the contents (targeted to the New Age market). While Morgan James publishes some Christian books (about 30 each year), they are not a “Christian” publisher yet this view is across the board in the published books (i.e. our fiction has no sex or curse words and the publisher would not publish a New Age book). While I admire the enthusiasm of this writer, he had not taken the few minutes to get educated and targeted with his submission. I read numerous books outside of what I do at Morgan James and often write book reviews. Yet this book would not be one that I would even read a few pages.
What steps are you taking to get educated as a writer?
Literary agents and publishers receive thousands of submissions. The standout ones that get published come from thoughtful, educated writers.
Are your submissions targeted? How do you locate your right audience? Ideas are here. (ClickToTweet)