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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How to Publish Hypnotically Storys with Supreme Balance

Or: "How to Avoid Becoming Something of a Meme, a Trope, and a Laughingstock all on the Same Day"

Those of us hoping for a published byline one day have (hopefully vicariously) learned some valuable lessons this week. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. Our work deserves our respect. Good writing requires more from us than just stringing words together on a page. We need to study our grammar and usage with a mind to improve them. If we think our work can't be improved, then we probably aren't paying attention to these things. A story or book worth publishing is worth getting right. 
  2. Editors deserve our respect. If they won't accept our offerings, there is a reason. Maybe our copy needs some proofreading, and possibly some heavy editing. Sacrilege! This is nigh unthinkable when we think a project is finished. Think it anyway and hire a copy editor.
  3. Our fellow writers deserve our respect. If someone offers an honest review, try accepting the result with grace and gratitude. If we cannot render this essential courtesy, then we should keep our mouths shut.
  4. Our audience deserves our respect.  We should offer to them our best efforts, not something we pushed through a vanity press because the publishing industry didn't want it. If we cannot respect our readers enough to give them our best, then our stories should probably remain in our journals where no one will spurn or criticize them.
Writing is a business. If we have a problem with any aspect of this business, we should consider the source. Here's a hint about that: the source isn't the evil reviewer who panned our work. It's the work itself. Arrogance is never an appropriate response, and bouts of overweening martyrdom won't help our chances. Success in publishing often hinges on strong relationships within the industry. We writers should be building bridges, not burning them. 

Which of those are you doing?

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