After I finished writing and editing and tweaking through feedback and outside critiques, I just want the work to speak for itself. But that’s not enough. The publishing world is filled with “aspiring writers”, a handful of which are actually serious about improving their craft and growing as an artist and a marketing manager.
I hate marketing, but it’s part of the job. Without it I might as well just keep a journal and share it with my mom.
The business side is messy and frustrating and often confusing. But a girl’s gotta make a living!
I’m still learning. I don’t wish to sell my soul to the writing world. Instead I find that doing what I can to exude friendliness and artistic value is more my forte. Professionalism has to come into play though.
How a writer presents themselves and their work is important. (This is coming from a woman who was posting about unicorns early this morning). I’m not saying I’m going to buy a bunch of drab business suits and stress out over which card I select to hand out. No. Someone would find my hanging by a neck tie if I did that.
It’s more about making the right impression on your readers, other writers, editors, agents, and especially publishers. Formatting is a big one for me. I’ve worked as a slush reader and am an editor so there is nothing that turns me off of a work more than bad formatting.
When in doubt, go with Shunn. This is a HUGE rule of mine. Not all agents, editors, and publishers list specifics like required font, word size, and spacing but all of those things matter.
William Shunn’s Proper Manuscript format, and Short Story format is essential to be taken seriously.
It lists everything a writer needs to woo editors and publishers. UNLESS the specify otherwise. Some smaller ezines are less strict on requirements, but Shunn’s formatting is laid out to be easiest on the eyes and annoy the reader less.
After reading some horrendous writing with terrible formats, I can attest that good formatting and presentation works in my favor. I still receive the general amount of rejections, like all writers. My acceptance rate is at 17% (Thanks Duotrope, now I have that number haunting my brain at all hours of existence).
For self-publishing authors and indie writers, I urge you to double and triple check your formatting. When working with small presses and indie publishers, the author has the gift of more input, use it wisely. My first children’s book has made a great impact and I am grateful to have the deal that I was offered. But the experience has taught me a LOT about the importance of SPEAKING UP if you think the cover needs reworking or the pages should be designed a certain way.
My eye has become trained. I spot flaws much easier than I did when I received my first contract; hell it’s better than it was 6 months or a year ago. As long as I keep growing and using what I’ve learned, there are no limits to what can happen in the next phase of my career. (And I have some doozies in line for the near future)
There are days where the pressure piles on and it gets to be too much. Forgetting all the crap and pushing forward is the hardest thing a writer can do. We beat ourselves up over mistakes and obsess over our shortcomings. Making sure to jump that hurdle and not only create great work, but present it in a way that best suits readers is what I’m all about.
I may or may not be super giddy about an upcoming release. More info to come soon!