One of the best ways to navigate the publishing world is to approach the process as a “team sport.” For any person who has participated (or participates) in team sports, there is a delicate balance of raw talent, the ability to learn its intricacies, good sportsmanship (i.e. a positive attitude), and a teamwork mentality. This example easily translates into the publishing world.
1. Raw Talent – Writing a book is a challenging experience. Putting words together successfully, so that they flow perfectly, while maintaining good grammar and the reader’s engagement, is a major accomplishment. In order to succeed in the publishing world, the writer needs to already have a natural ability for this process. Good writing cannot be forced. Yet, good writing writing can result from one already knowing how words work together, and the wonderful ways stories can be told on paper with these words.
2. The Intricacies – The next step in writing is evaluating and learning the methods by how book ideas come together. Even going so far as to learning how to develop a book plot, an outline, character development, and more. As children, we all learned words, eventually sentences, moving onto paragraphs, then chapters, and finally full books. It was a process, and it took practice and education on our teachers/parents parts. Taking classes, reading how-to books on the writing process, and having one’s writing critiqued, results in a better understanding of all the small details of the writing experience.
3. Good sportsmanship – Once again, I cannot emphasize enough the need to not take the publishing experience too personally. Rejections will happen, yet what can you do to learn from them? It’s not just seeing the silver lining of the “just business” approach that is sometimes hard on writers; good writership requires that a person looks at the bigger picture, and that much like any team sport, one needs to persevere. Whether one is on a winning or losing team, there is always the comfort that one learned the rules, put his/her heart into the game, and the willingness to see the game through to the very end. The same steps should be taken when aspiring to be published.
4. A Teamwork Mentality – Don’t enter the agent/editor search alone. While writing a book is very solitary, a successful writer networks with fellow writers and folks who work in publishing. Go to writers’ conferences, have fellow writers critique your writing, and become comfortable with Twitter/Facebook/Yelp/etc. Not only will this make the entire experience more satisfactory, but a strong support network will be established.