Wednesday, May 21, 2008

10 Ways to Make Sure You'll Never Publish

Anyone can give you ideas to help you get published. Here's a few helpful hints to make sure you never have to worry about getting The Call.

1. Never finish a manuscript. Surely just your premise scrawled quickly onto the back of a napkin ought to be enough. It's the idea that counts.

2. Don't accept critique from others. It's your story. You should be able to tell it from 37 different points of view if you want. And be sure to ignore the publisher's guidelines. Do they want your manuscript double-spaced in Courier New 12 pt? Well, isn't that silly? You can fit twice as many words if you single-space. And if you use Ariel 8 pt. I bet you can cram even more on each page.

3. Never be willing to revise. Why mess with perfection? Your mother loves your story just as it is.

4. Agent-schmagent! Who needs another hand in your pocket? Sure, the publisher's guidelines require agented submissions, but that's just for those other less-inspired writers. Besides, if you're a tough negotiator on your advance, that editor will think twice about trying to cross you with pesky revision requests.

5. Be as nasty as you can to other writers. After all, we're all going for the same finite number of slots. Leave the encouragment and mentoring of other authors to the Mother Theresa's of the writing world.

6. When you pitch, make sure you tell the editor how lucky he/she is to have found the next Nora Roberts. Of course, once she reads your 800,000 word manuscript, she'll realize how brilliant you are. But it never hurts to be cocky . . . er, I mean, confident.

7. Don't join RWA or some other writer's group. If they knew so much, they'd all be published. Besides, one of them might steal your idea for that genre-bending futuristic, erotic, chick-lit western mystery.

8. If you attend a writer's conference, be sure to stalk the editors. They like the attention. If you want to be totally memorable, shove your complete manuscript under the bathroom stall door to them. That'll get your work noticed! And I guarantee they'll remember your name. They might even tell their friends.

9. If you do finish a manuscript, make sure you don't start a second one before the first one sells. Just keep sending the same manuscript out to as many houses as you can, whether they publish your type of story or not. For good measure, if one editor at a publishing house rejects you, make sure you send it to all the other editors at the same house. Won't that first editor feel silly when the fifth editor buys your work? After all, it's not as if they talk to each other or, heaven forfend, consult with each other on their acquisition decisions.

10. Don't give away the ending in your synopsis. What better way to make an editor request the full manuscript than to finish up your outline with a coy, "If you want to know how it all turns out, you have to read the full manuscript!" Besides, they really need to read the whole thing to understand why you decided to kill off the hero on the last page.

If you follow these guidelines, I can virtually guarantee you'll never be bothered by a contract offer. However, if your goal is actually to see your writing in print, you might want to forget these rules or even do the opposite.

Happy Writing!

3 comments:

Mercedes said...

Very humorous. I leave all the creative writing to my mom. My forte is publicity. I am her publicist and Idea bouncer.

EmilyBryan said...

Never underestimate the value of an idea bouncer. My husband is a terrific one, whether he wants to be or not!

What does your mom write?

Nicole McCaffrey said...

Excellent list! I see myself from several years ago in some of these, LOL. So glad I've repented and changed my ways!