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5 Commandments to Abide By – Becoming Published

Writing is an art, a passionate art, a real expression of your creative side, of your personality. What you write is a load of words on a page and every person who reads them will interpret them slightly differently. Writing is the easy bit; it’s the becoming a published author that isn’t quite so easy. It's like finally beating the last boss in an extremely hard game, a level you’ve been playing for ages, with no success. To beat that level, to become the boss of that boss, you need to abide by these five commandments:

Thou Must Be Flexible

Any writer is just a little biased about their own work. It’s perfect, obviously. It doesn’t need to be changed and, anyway, that will take far too long. However, put a pair of fresh eyes on your work and it’s a whole different ballgame. Those eyes will see what you don’t, especially if those eyes belong to a seasoned writer/editor/proofreader. Inflexibility in terms of changes to your work will hold you back. Having the attitude that it’s your work so you know better than anyone is seriously going to come back and bite you, right where it’s the most tender! Give a little and you will gain – a whole lot. Editors, publicists, publishers, anyone that you work with will appreciate that and you will find them much easier to work with.

Thou Must Trust Thyself

Your story is never going to be perfect so get used to it. While proofreading is an incredibly important part of writing, you can do too much. If you start to second-guess yourself, you will find that the whole point of your story starts to get lost through editing. Do this – proofread a couple of times thoroughly and then leave it alone. Come back to it one more time after a while and you will find you have a new perspective on things. Leave it at that.

Thou Must Not Copy Another Author

This is such an easy trap to fall into. You start out by reading for inspiration and you end up copying their style and, in many cases, their words too. Do read your favorite authors’ works for a little help but be careful. Plagiarism is not tolerated in any form, especially with book buyers. Not only that, readers don’t like copycats or plagiarists either.

Thou Must Be Patient

Where agents are concerned, editors, publicists, and so on, never be pushy with them. Yours isn’t the only book they are dealing with and they will get to you as fast as they can. Nagging them will just make them push your work further down the line. Give them space and time to read your proposal or do their proofreading and let them come to their decision in their own time. A positive attitude is often far more important than a good book.

Thou Must Not Give Up

These things take time and nothing is going to happen straight away. It is unlikely that the first publisher or agent you submit your work to will give you a contract right away. Be prepared for rejection, possibly several times. This is a long journey, full of breakdowns and wrong turns but somewhere down the line, it will all come right for you. Patience is key.

Any dream may come true if you believe in it enough and you are prepared to put in the work to make it happen.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Anne-Marie Reynolds