By Rebecca Gernon
Your chance of being published is far greater than 1 out of 292 million, which are the odds of winning the Powerball. To increase your odds of being published Submit, submit, submit, and then submit again. Buying extra Powerball tickets does not increase your odds of winning, just the size of the payoff someone else will win, but flooding the market with well written manuscripts will improve your chance of being published.
I maintain a submission journal on my computer. A simple table with the following headings:
1.TYPE OF QUERY( Agent, Publisher, Play, contest, story)
3. DATE CONTACTED
4. WHAT AND HOW SUBMITTED (email, USPS, on line link)
I started this is 2003 when I became serious about my writing. This is a great way to track your submission and note your progress. Currently I am in a publishing slump, so I reviewed my journals. The years 2003-2006 were lost in a computer crash, but here is summary of recent years:
2007: 34 submissions, 7 successes.
2008: 53 submissions, 5 successes.
2009: 59 submissions, 5 successes
2010: 56 submissions, 5 successes
2011: 43 submissions, 8 successes
2012-2013 Amy Signs was published by Gallaudet University in September. I arranged more than 20 speaking engagements, and had articles printed online or in magazines to promote the book.
2014: 19 submissions, 1 publication
2015: 62 submissions, 2 publications
2016: 24 submissions, 0 publications
I realized that from 2007-2012 I was really driven to be published. I remember saying to myself, “I will write what publishers want.” I wanted to write the great American novel, my nonfiction memoir, Amy Signs, and have my plays produced, but I focused on being published, anyplace, anywhere, paid or unpaid. I was building a writing resume. Proof that my work was worthy of being published in multiple locations. My motto was: Writers Write. Obviously it worked.
After the publication of Amy Signs in 2012 by Gallaudet University Press, a traditional publisher, I thought editors would be chomping at the bit to buy my manuscripts. Not so. In 2015 I sent out 58 query letters to agents, and did not received so much as a “Good, but not for us.” Then I decided to revamp my query letter. Yes, I must be a slow learner.
2016 is shaping up to be a losing year unless I …..
1. Research more agents
2. Submit to more publishers
3. Send queries to magazines before submitting an article
4. Return to my philosophy: Writers Write
5. Write nonfiction. It is easier to sell.
6. Set aside 3 hours a day to write
7. Ask God for guidance
I have set a goal for myself: 50 submissions this year, which means I better get busy. To meet my goal I will need to make two submissions a week.
My second goal is to be published in Chicken Soup for the Soul. I hope you, my readers will pester me to keep my goals.
As for writers who want to be published,
1. I urge you to start a submission journal on your computer or paper, it doesn’t matter.
2. Set a goal. Without a goal, a writer is like car without gas, a boat with out a rudder, a kite with no wind. You get the idea. You are aimless, floundering, going nowhere. So, set a goal. Post it in your comment. Tell a trusted friend, and be accountable to me, your friend, or this blog.
One ticket might win you the powerball, but the odds are against you.So my fellow writers