Aspiring Writers: Do Your Homework

By Colby Marshall - November 1, 2011

Here's what I'll tell you about publishing: if you're really interested in it, go for it!  But don't go for it without doing your homework first.  If you truly want to be published, research the industry, learn the ropes, and understand how things work.  Don’t expect to find short cuts, and don’t think that the rules don’t apply to you.  Give yourself the best possible chance you can to succeed by learning the right way to query agents or editors (if said editors accept unagented work), learn the right way to format manuscripts, study publishing trends, know the acceptable word counts for your genre, etc.  It will save you a lot of heartbreak if if you learn everything you can about submitting before you do it.  Agents and publishers alike get thousands of submissions every year, so you can't afford to be anything less than professional and well-prepared.  Don't give them an easy reason to say no, because there are enough already.  If you write commercial fiction, and your manuscript ia 150k words, they won't request your material.  It's an easy rejection.  Research until you're ready.