WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

 

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***This is PART TWO of a five part series to uncover some myths about becoming a published author. Make sure to come back next week and find out more insider secrets about the writing industry!***

 

5 Common Myths About Getting Published, Part Two
by: Donna L Martin

 

Last week I talked about the first myth in this series where some new writers think you need to have a college degree in children’s literature or writing before you can actually call yourself a writer. If you missed last week’s post you can go here to check it out.

Now I’d like to talk about the next myth some new writers think is necessary to become a published author.

 

MYTH #2…YOU NEED AN AGENT TO GET A FOOT IN THE DOOR

 

I worked hard my first year as a “professional” writer to strengthen my writing skills. I also started setting goals for my writing career and one of those goals was to land an agent. I thought the ONLY way to become an author was to find an agent willing to represent me and then THEY would magically get my stories published.

I was wrong.

There are many larger publishing houses that won’t consider an unagented submission, but there are still ways for writers today to get their work in front of a publisher. Here are some of the opportunities I have come across over the years where writers don’t need an agent to get noticed by a publishing house…

 

1) WRITE ON CON (http://www.writeoncon.com)…

 

A FREE, week long writers conference usually held in August and including things like critique forums, guest speakers, twitter pitches, editor chats and chances to pitch to publishing houses.

 

2) PITCHMAS (http://www.pitchmas.blogspot.com)…

 

Twitter pitch forum under #Pitchmas usually held twice a year in July and December. Agents and publishers requests manuscripts pitched during a one day pitch party and even publishing houses not normally open to unagented submissions will occasionally sign on to read the pitches.

 

3) PITMAD (http://www.brenda-drake.com/pitmad)…

 

Twitter pitch party held four times a year under #Pitmad and hosted by author Brenda Drake where writers pitch their completed manuscripts to agents and editors. This is where I met my editor, Jessica Schmeidler, from Anaiah Press and where my story went from a twitter pitch to a book contract in SIX DAYS!

 

4) #MSWL (http://www.twitter.com)…

 

Twitter forum where agents and publishers list their manuscript “wish lists”. Just do a search for #MSWL and the wish lists will pop up. Just make sure to research any agents or publishing houses before submitting and ALWAYS follow the publishing house’s guidelines to make sure your manuscript has the best chance at being considered.
For those of you interested in pursuing agency representation, here are a couple of ways to bypass the slush pile as well as some agents looking to add to their client list…

 

1) JULIE HEDLUND’S 12 X 12 FORUM (http://www.juliehedlund.com)…

 

In my humble opinion, probably one of THE best pipelines to get your work into the hands of agents. Registration is closed for this year but any writer serious about their career and interested in finding an agent should definitely check this forum out!

 

2) RATE YOUR STORY (http://www.rateyourstory.blogspot.com)…

 

Not only can you receive FREE professional critique ratings on your picture book stories up to 2000 words, creator Miranda Paul also provides membership levels where writers can receive special newsletters loaded with contests and insider links to agent opportunities.

 

For myself, I am always on the look out for agent to partner with on future projects. However, I encourage every writer out there looking to become published to do their due diligence and research the market. Maybe you aren’t looking for agent representation. While a writer can still become a published author without one, like I did, there are still huge advantages to being represented by an agent so make the decision that is right for YOU and remember no matter what path you choose…agented or free lance…it STILL all starts with a great story!

What other opportunities, publishing houses open to unagented submissions, or agents looking for new clients have I missed? Add to my list by commenting below…

 

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donna

 

International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

***This is PART ONE of a five part series to uncover some myths about becoming a published author. Make sure to come back next week and find out more insider secrets about the writing industry!***

 

5 Common Myths About Getting Published, Part One

by: Donna L Martin

 

There are a lot of misconceptions floating around beginner writers about just what it takes to become a published author. If you are a new writer just starting out you might even think there is only one set formula guaranteeing your success at capturing the attention of a publisher.

You would be wrong.

Since 2010 I have dedicated my efforts to becoming a professional writer. It hasn’t been easy and I’ve made my fair share of mistakes. Below you’ll find the first common writing myth I uncovered along the way to publication.

 

MYTH #1…YOU HAVE TO HAVE A DEGREE IN WRITING TO GET PUBLISHED

 

When I first decided to become more serious about my writing I actually thought I would have to go back to school and get a degree in writing before I could call myself a writer. I began looking at different colleges offering courses in writing and quickly realized I didn’t have the money to pursue a degree. Then I checked out other workshops, seminars, conferences, and classes offered to help improve my writing skills…only to realize I couldn’t afford them either. Did that mean I had to give up my dream of becoming published?

No.

It just meant I had to become creative. The first thing I did was go the library and check out all the writing books they had. Then I went to local bookstores and added to my collection. Finally I trolled the Internet, researching different websites and blogs until I had a number of free or inexpensive resources at my fingertips. Finally I actually took the time to read and study what the experts were already showing me about what’s necessary to become a serious writer.

The more I read, the more I began to understand and the stronger my stories became. I learned every story needs an engaging hook to begin with, a strong middle foundation to pull the audience along, and an unexpected ending to surprise, delight, or connect with the reader so it will leave them wanting more. I also learned no matter how good you think you are as a writer, there is always someone better. There will always be opportunities to learn something new and always others generous enough to share their writerly wisdom with you. Your job is to get out there and find them.

Here are just some of the books I have collected over the years…

Author 101: Best Selling Nonfiction by Rick Fristman & Robyn reedman Spizman

On Writing by Stephen King

The Productive Writer by Sage Cohen

20 Master Plots and How To Build Them by Ronald B Tobias

The Writer’s Book of Wisdom: 101 rules For Mastering Your Craft by Steven Taylor Goldsberry

You Can Write Children’s Books by Tracey E Dils

Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg

Writing For Young Adults by Sherry Garland

What are some of the books or websites you have used in your writing career? Comment below and be sure to come back next week as I uncover another writing myth.

 

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donna

 

International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.