Read here to find out how to write and publish a book whether you’re 73 or 11 years old.
Do be realistic about your expectations. Writing should be a hobby. The prospect should be fun and not a chore. Being published is not all there is to realm of writing – enjoy what you’re doing!
Please also note that if you’re under 18, publishers tend not to bother with all the legal hassle. Since you are not of age to sign the contract, and need parental consent, this brings further problems, and publishers tend to avoid young authors for that reason. This being said, it’s still a good thing to try anyway. You just might make it.
Begin forming ideas and jot them down. Afterwards, select the ones you want. Some people choose to simply start to write with only one sentence in their head. Whichever way you do it, it’s fine, but the most common way is actually starting with an idea. You’ll find that after the first sentence, the ideas will pop into your head and it’ll flow. Just keep writing.
Don’t worry about errors; you can correct them later. You get the best stories by continuing on and not looking at the screen. If you keep looking at the screen, chances are you will want to change everything right away instead of continuing on with the story.
There should not be a limit on how much you can write a day, but create a minimum. It will help you focus on the story. Never stop; no matter how bad it seems, JUST KEEP GOING! This is the most important thing! If you have anyone around you that discourages you, shoo them away or ignore them. Better still, work in a quiet or empty place.
Once you finish your story, it should follow the guidelines which publishers Allen and Unwin follow:
- Junior fiction
- For beginner readers, aged 5-8, word length 5,000-10,000
- For confident readers, aged 7-10, word length 10,000-30,000
- For middle readers, aged 11-14, word length 30,000-55,000
- Young adult novels
- For teenage readers, aged 13-16, word length 40,000-60,000
- For mature teenage and older readers, aged 15+, word length 40,000-100,000
- For a total list and for more information and writing and publishing, go to “Submission Guidelines” on the Allen and Unwin website.
Recheck and re-edit your story as many times as you need to. It can’t be stressed how much this is necessary. However, don’t keep editing if you don’t know what the problem is. Over-editing is possible and dangerous, so get others to check it. They can spot things better than the author him/herself.
Research different publishers. You may choose to self publish, but getting published by a big time publisher is better for getting a larger audience. Most publishers only choose to publish or even read solicited material – that is, manuscripts gone through an agent. Agents usually also choose to read only material that they are acquainted with – or the authors they know. Prices range. However, there are quite a few publishers that do publish unsolicited material, such as Penguin or Allen & Unwin.
Once you have decided on a few publishers (the more the better), start researching about them. Some choose to publish for adults only selected genres, but all information should be available on their websites. Some have different guidelines and word limits, or whether it need be solicited or not. Some also require a synopsis – a summary. However, almost all publishers require a hard copy (printed) version of your story. Also, keep in mind their specifications. Some publishers prefer double spaced lines, with a certain type of font in a certain size, etc. Stick to what they specify. Do not send emailed copies or ones on a disc, unless stated you may. Usually they don’t tend to return them, so keep your original with you.
Wait and wait. Send your copies to all available that you can. It may take up to four months or more, maybe, to get it edited. If you get it, well done! You get to see it in the stores! However, the publisher usually doesn’t advertise it for you.
- Publishers won’t advertise your book. That’s up to you, the author. They market it out, but they don’t advertise it except for maybe on their websites. Tell friends and family, and put fliers up around your city/town. Sometimes you may even get a local book store to advertise your book.
- Remember; regardless of your age, most publishers will still publish for you if your story is good! Be prepared to take criticism and use it wisely.
- Keep writing! While everyone has a different editing style, most people find it most helpful to write as much as they can while the ideas are fresh, and revise the story later.
- Stick to the plot. If you have another idea, jot it down, and try and see where you can wedge it in without leading the story into a completely different direction.
- Remember publisher/agent etiquette. Don’t submit to so many, especially if they specify not to. Patience is the key. After a month or two with no reply, then perhaps you can try others. Remember: unsolicited work generally is left until later and can take up to many months to get to.
- Toss “rules of writing” out the window. There are mechanics to the language: punctuation, general sentence structure, etc. However, never be tied down with what you read online when it concerns rules such as “never write in passive language,” to “avoid using said,” or to “never use adverbs.” Editing can always come after, anyway.
- Try numerous publishers. Some will take you, while some won’t.
- Always edit your own work before submitting it. No publishing company will accept your work if it’s full of spelling and grammatical errors or inconsistencies.
- If meeting the publisher, make sure you actually show up on time and be yourself; don’t put on an act or be nervous. Sometimes publishers tend to already have decided and just want to go through protocol.
- Don’t fall into the trap of avoiding “said.” Many new writers tend to think that using the word “said” gives an overuse of the word. However, this isn’t the case. Take the following:
- “Come on!” Joseph cried. He ran around the garden excitedly.
- “Yes or no?” Mother inquired as she walked down the stairs to him.
- In both cases the words “cried” and “inquired” are used. However, the rest of the dialogue already gives the reader the idea that Joseph is excited and Mother is relaxed. You don’t have to have words like “inquired,” “quoted,” “denied,” or “stated.” “Said” is perfectly fine and is shorter. It lets the reader form the image themselves without having you butt in and pave the way for them.
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- To Publish or Not to Publish? That is the Question… (successful-blog.com)
- Book Publishing Secrets: A Conversation with Kraig Dafoe (bookmarketingbuzz.com)