If you’re an aspiring writer who’s just written a masterpiece, you might be asking yourself how you can now get it noticed by publishers. The publishing industry is extremely difficult to navigate, and many authors struggle to be seen in the crowd of published works. But there are ways to make your writing stand out!
This article will focus on how you can increase your chances of getting published, regardless of what type of writer you are. We’ll discuss strategies in terms of what to write, things you should do in addition to your writing, and how active you should be in the literary world. We guarantee that if you utilize all of these tips, your writing will get the attention it deserves from publishers and take that fateful step towards official publication.
Make Sure What You’ve Written is Worth Their Time
We’d all like to think our writing is the picture of literary depth and eloquence, a hidden gem just waiting to be found by the right person if they only gave you the time of day. Unfortunately, although we’re sure this is true for your writing, you aren’t the only person thinking this. In the end, you are one raindrop in a storm of industry saturation, so you have to give publishers a reason to scoop you out of the flood.
The first step to getting your writing noticed by publishers is to make sure it offers something unique and impactful, unlike anything readers will find in its competition. The last thing you want to do is give them a re-wrapped version of stories they’ve seen time and again.
Once you have an idea for your writing, do your research. For example, what are the most popular or top-selling books, articles, blogs, etc., that share the topic or genre, and how do you intend to do it differently?
This doesn’t necessarily mean whatever story you had in mind now needs to be tossed to the wayside once you notice it shares traits with other works; make sure you’re bringing something new to the table. Writing is a form of art and you can derive inspiration from virtually anywhere, but it’s important your writing has something to say and stands out.
Submit Clean, Thoroughly Edited Writing
While the content of your writing is important, you want to make sure everything you submit is clear and impactful for the editor, rather than being buried under grammatical errors they have to sift through before they can interpret your work. Getting your writing noticed is one thing; getting it noticed for its lack of editing is another.
When you submit your writing to a publisher, make sure it has been through the editing wringer. What’s important isn’t how much writing you give them as much as the quality of it.
If a publisher sees your writing, it should be at the absolute best of your abilities. This might require several re-reads and revisions but will always result in significant editing, most likely from a professional or someone trained as an editor.
It never hurts to have a few pairs of eyes on your writing for constructive feedback. You’ll probably find someone else who hasn’t read your word time and again will pick out a mistake or two your brain glossed over.
Get Your Writing Out There as Much as Possible
Moving on from the writing itself, one of the other ways you can help ensure a publisher notices your work is to have a reputation connected to the author’s name.
Writers can build a reputation and their skills by getting their writing out into the world as much as possible. Some of the top recommended ways to do this is to submit it to or participate in:
- Literary programs
- Literary magazines
- Fanfiction websites and apps (FanFiction.net, Tumblr, Wattpad)
If your work was accepted to a literary magazine or won some sort of award, this is something you can show to publishers to demonstrate your credibility as a writer.
Thankfully, even if you don’t win any fancy awards, exposure will help just as much as the first place title. Plus, participating in these events and literary spheres usually provides the writer with criticism and feedback. Some of it is constructive and can be used to enhance your writing, while the unconstructive criticism will help you learn how to pick these unnecessary comments out and take them in stride rather than to heart.
Promote Your Writing on Social Media and Build a Following
This is a big one that, fortunately, or unfortunately, writers didn’t have to worry about a few decades ago. However, nowadays, one of the most significant tools in a writer’s arsenal is having an active presence on social media.
Promoting your writing on social media can significantly affect your reputation, relevance, and reader following. Not only is this a great way to connect with people who enjoy your work and network with industry professionals, but it’s also a great way to help you learn to advocate for yourself as a writer and show people what you have to offer.
The social media platform you choose will often vary depending on your writing. For instance, if you’re writing a book, you could opt for Facebook or Tumblr to post book snippets and do some personal marketing.
If you’re a poet, many individuals find success posting their poems on Twitter. And if you enjoy more of a fanfiction approach, FanFiction.net is for you. What’s more important than having a social media account is consistency in uploads and building a following.
Regardless of what platform you use, find people who have read your work, enjoy it, and want to see more. Then find a way to keep them by your side as you work to get published. This might require you to create a separate website for yourself. They can subscribe to or promote one platform over another.
Either way, growing a significant reader base will show publishers there are real people willing to buy your writing, which gives the publisher a sense of security in investing in you. It isn’t uncommon for publishers to offer a writer a deal based on their follower or subscriber numbers alone.
Work Up the Publishing Ladder
This tip might sound a bit odd on the surface, but one way you can get your writing noticed by a publisher is to work up the publishing ladder and have it, or other work, previously published elsewhere.
Although social media is a fantastic tool, submitting your work there doesn’t count as publication. But you can get your work self-published or published through a smaller, regional publication company instead where acceptance rates are lower, and you can start building a reputation.
We recognize that most writers hoping to get published will have their eyes set on the “Big Five,” and while these companies are publishing mammoths with unlimited resources for writers, the amount of writing they receive a year is significant, to say the least.
Therefore, you might have a better chance of getting your writing noticed by HarperCollins or Penguin Random House, for example, if you have some previous publications under your belt. While self-publication is a feat many writers have achieved, we recommend you look into smaller publishing houses that align with your content aesthetic and have lower acceptance rates.
Just because these houses are smaller doesn’t mean they aren’t as capable as one of the “Big Five” at doing your work justice through publication. If this sounds like an approach that interests you, we’d suggest looking into Tupelo Press, Coffee House Press, Bancroft Press, and other similar houses for your earlier publications.