Persistence Pays. This was the advice from industry expert, Mary Cunnane, when asked what she would tell writers who were starting out.
This persistence can take many forms. Here are my five tips:
1. Keep Writing. This seems so obvious, and yet I often hear people bemoan the range of activities and issues that prevent them from writing. Set a regular time (first thing in the morning, when the kids have gone to bed, at the soccer game, on the bus). It doesn't matter when or where. Keep your notebook or writing device with you and start. Make a commitment to yourself that you will write for 30 minutes each day. It will add up.
2. Join a Writers Group. If you love to write, you probably also love to read. So join a writers group and be the first to read what one day might be a bestseller. Writers groups can provide support and knowledgeable feedback. Learn to give constructive critiques about the writing you read and the other members will thank you.
3. Research the Industry. One way to become successful is to be well connected and well informed. For those unfamiliar with the publishing industry, having an idea about current trends, what publishers want, and how to position your work in the market place will help. With the rise in electronic sources of information, and social media, it is easier than ever. All reputable publishers have websites, Facebook or Twitter accounts. Follow them.
4. Become a Member of Your Writers Centre. These are a wonderful source of information. Not only become a member, but attend some of the workshops they offer. Writers centres are starting to explore online chat sessions, so distance is no excuse.
5. Learn from Rejections. We will all receive rejections. The important thing is to learn from them. Occasionally a rejection will include some feedback. Try to set your emotional response aside and take it on board. Even when no feedback is provided, think about whether your work is suited to that style of publisher. Perhaps you need to refine your query letter, or do a better copy edit on your manuscript. Publishers (and agents) have specific requirements for submission - check that you have complied. Each rejection offers an opportunity to learn about the industry and about your writing.