Saturday, 02 July 2022

T The Pro-Active Author

Every Writer Must Do Their Part

As writers, we have big dreams for our work to get into the world. During my years of writing for publication, I understand many aspects of the publishing process are outside of my control. Yet there are many things I can control and that's why I wrote 10 Publishing Myths to help every writer understand some of these aspects and ways they can take action.

You may want to publish a book. To get that book published, you have to sit in your chair, put your fingers on the keyboard and write. I like what my friend bestselling novelist Bodie Thoene told me years ago: “No little elves come out at night and write my pages. I have to do it every day out of obedience to my calling.” Whether it is a book or a book proposal or any other type of writing, you have to do the work for it to possibly happen. It does not happen just because you think about it or want it to happen. For each aspect of the publishing process, there is actual work (and some of it hard) involved for it to transpire.

Weeks ago, before the release of Book Proposals That Sell, I had the idea of publishing a Soapbox column article in Publisher's Weekly magazine. I subscribe to this trade publication and read it every week. A missing topic in this column was something about book proposals. As an acquisitions editor, I've actually been in the pub board meetings where key decisions about books are made. I believed the readers of Publisher's Weekly (like librarians and retailers) who have never been inside this room would be interested in my words about it. While I have written for Publisher's Weekly, it has been many years with different editors now in charge of the magazine. I had to approach them like a brand new author to get my article published.

I have been a magazine editor and written for more than 50 publications. While my background is helpful in this process of getting published, it does not guarantee that it will happen. Editors are the gatekeepers and make the decisions about what gets published and what gets rejected. What I'm writing about in this article is the need to do my part as a writer. I wrote my piece then pitched the editor and caught his attention. Even after I submitted it, I knew it could get rejected but last night I got notice the article is online and will be in this week's issue. You can follow the link to read my article.

Why did I want to write an article for Publishers Weekly? They are the most influential publication in the publishing industry with a circulation of 68,000 copies and annual readers of 14 million. Use this link to check out their media kit and more information about the magazine. Libraries and many other places take this magazine. Your local library likely does not have Publisher's Weekly out in their magazine area but ask the reference librarian if you can read it. For many years I went to my local library every week and read the magazine before I became a subscriber.  

Much of the publishing world is outside of anything we can control as writers—but we must do our part—keep submitting, keep learning, keep knocking on new doors to see if they will open. Sometimes they happen and I'm celebrating that today.

Are y0u doing your part as a writer to open new doors of opportunity?


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Columnist: Terry Whalin

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W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former  magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. To help writers, he has created 12-lesson online course called Write A Book Proposal. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com.

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