In the last post I talked about a few courses, Facebook groups and Podcasts that will help you get started. Now I want to give you some insight into sending your first manuscript to a publisher.
Pt.2. Getting Published
I have written a manuscript, now what?
Don’t send it to a publisher, yet!
Once you are linked in with some Facebook groups you will discover 2 things. The first is that it is tough. Really tough to get published. The competition is fierce! The second thing you will notice is that your competitors are not fierce. In fact, they are the opposite, everyone is super supportive.
You can pay to get your manuscript professionally assessed/edited. Your Facebook groups will point you in the right direction for this. But I think if it’s the first story you have written, my advice would be to hold your horses. Keep writing until you learn more.
Oh, and if you are offered a contract that requires you to pay money for the book to be created, alarm bells should ring. This is what is referred to as Vanity Publishing. It does work for someone people but I cannot stress this enough DO YOUR RESEARCH.
Read more about Vanity Publishing here: https://writersvictoria.org.au/what-vanity-publishing
Should I join a critique group?
Yes. You should.
A critique group gives you unbiased feedback and ways to improve your manuscript and it also teaches you how to critically evaluate someone else’s work. And guess what? Yep, you will start to look at your own writing more critically, which will make you a better writer.
I’m a member of the Creative Kids Tales Critique group. But I’ve also heard great things about the SCBWI critique group, too. You will need a membership to access these.
Also look into your local writers group or library.
Now it’s polished, can I send my manuscript to a publisher?
You will need to learn how to write a cover letter (I’m still learning this art!)
You will also need to research the publishers that are open to unsolicited manuscripts (not all publishers are and some have certain days or months they are open throughout the year). You will also need to check that your manuscript suits their listings as different publishers have different styles and you don’t want to look unprofessional by sending a manuscript that doesn’t fit with their listings.
Your manuscript will go to what’s called a ‘slush-pile.’ The slush-pile is big and it is a very long wait for them to read it (3 months to a year – if at all!) and if your manuscript is unsuccessful many publishers will not have the time to let you know *insert the sound of crickets.*
But that’s when you get onto writing the next one!
This is just the beginning. In fact, there is SO much more to it all. I haven’t even touched on entering competitions, finding an agent, creating an author platform, conferences or other publishing options such as writing for magazines, anthologies and charity organisations. That’s where joining Facebook groups and listening to podcasts that I recommended in this Pt.1 will help you.
It sounds like hard work and that’s because it is. But it is also a lot of fun. If you really are thinking about taking the leap, I say go for it!
I hope I’ve given you some helpful advice, or at least somewhere to begin your KidLit journey. The industry is always changing, so I really encourage being connected online.
If you have any other questions, comments or suggestions, let me know on my Facebook post.
Happy writing :)