How to Get Published: Take the Leap of Faith

I want to be published. I love writing for the sake of writing, but I also want other people to read my writing. It’s my goal to be a good writer at worst, a great writer at best. Responses from my query seem like the ultimate assessment as to my writing savvy. Just because I’ve received rejections before, doesn’t mean it will be the same this time. Sending query submissions is like blowing on a dandelion and making a wish. ...more
I'm one of those who has queried a couple times, been contacted for a guest piece in a ...more

How To Get Published, Part 11: What Comes Next

Hopefully, knowing that everyone else is going through those same emotions will help you be able to set them aside for the moment and savour the happy parts of the experience. Because if you don't, you may miss the fact that this is a very happy experience too -- a nerve-wracking one where you never feel as if you are doing "enough" or getting "enough," but happy nonetheless. And you wouldn't trade having a traditionally published book for the world. ...more
Excellent! Thank you for sharing!more

How To Get Published, Part 10: Be Your Own Publicist

Books work with the same thought. If you cold-call the reader, for example, just setting it on the table in the bookstore and hope they pick it up, 99 times out of 100, they will walk on by without glancing at it unless it has a remarkable cover or title. But if you saw reviews and ads and met the writer in passing at a conference, chances are, when you bump into that book down the road, you'll be more likely to give it a try. Therefore, the marketing wheels need to be turning early-on in order to catch the crowds right at the book's release. ...more

Thank you!

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and more

Writing Contests: Why to Enter, What's Available This Year, What You Can Win

Then, in the late 90s when I was living in Dayton, Ohio, I entered the Erma Bombeck Essay Competition, sponsored by the University of Dayton -- where both Erma and I had graduated. I would go on to win an honorable mention, which scored me a certificate, I think, and I may have gotten a small cash prize, but I honestly can't remember. I was focused on having to read my essay at the awards ceremony, which is always nerve-wracking, but something I make myself do when given the chance. And I honestly believe that is when I returned to writing for real. ...more

Thanks for the great tips



How To Get Published, Part 6: Querying Agents

It's not really a surprise that agents would like you to query them one at a time, after all, if they're dedicating the time to read your audition, they don't want to think of their own time wasted because you're auditioning for hundreds of others and may go with someone else. At the same time, you will be 98 years old if you query agents one at a time. A nice compromise is to have no more than 10 queries out at a time (um...and y'all know that when I say it's okay to have 10 queries out at once, I mean write 10 separate emails to 10 separate agents. DO NOT bcc 10 agents on one email. Believe me, they talk to one another, and this will bite you in the ass.) ...more

Thank you Melissa,

That has been my gut instinct all along. I have several well-meaning ...more

How to Get Published, Part 5: How to Get an Agent

Welcome back to the How to Get Published Series. The subtitle of this post is "how to find and sign with a reputable agent," and yes, the emphasis should be on the word reputable. While reputable has ethical connotations (and this matters a lot too), what I really mean is "how to sign with an agent who will actually get your book sold rather than one who is taking a real crap shoot with your project and may end up doing more harm than good." ...more
davidlebovitz Thanks a millionmore

How to Get Published, Part 4: Why You Need a Literary Agent

Your fiction manuscript is complete or your non-fiction proposal is done. Now, you need to find an agent. I think it's really important to understand what an agent does and why you need one before we talk about how to get one, because the first bit of information will inform the second bit of information. ...more

Both of those questions are answered in the next installment: ...more

How to Get Published, Part 2: Are You Ready to Be an Author?

Welcome back to the How to Get Published Series. Okay, so what do you need to have in place before you start trying to find an agent or a publisher? ...more
Melissa!  I'm only two in and I can't believe how generous and informative this is!  THANK YOU, ...more

How to Get Published: Before We Even Get Started (Part One)

I am a published author. And you can be, too. ...more name is Sonjia Mackey. My blog is (Im)Possible Living at I ...more