Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Submit S'more!

Wanna Get Published?
Submit—then Submit S’more!

You've heard how the novels of famous authors were turned down dozens of times before becoming household names? Have you submitted that article or manuscript dozens of times? How often do you submit? Every week? Fantastic! You are leaps ahead of the pack. This article is for the rest of us. The ones who let submission and contest deadlines slide. The ones for whom each rejection paralyzes our pens. The ones to whom our jealous muses whisper our writing is just as good. 

Put your writing in the way of success. The more I submit, the more I refine my craft. Query letters, first pages and synopsis get refined with each submission.View submitting like a game (or competitive sport, even!) and you will develop writing muscles and thicker skin--so each rejection won't feel so much like a personal setback. When you bite into that gooey s'more around the campfire this summer, remember to send out more submissions!

What do other writers do better?  
Submit S'more!
  1. Research a wide variety of places and formats to submit work. 
  2. Do it.
  3. Go in-depth. What are specific interests of editors and agents? What do they want more of—or no more of? Find out by reading blogs, publisher websites, agents and editor interviews online, in magazines, on panels at conferences, etc.
  4. Re-work the same idea to submit to different niche publications. For example, while writing historical fiction, can you write non-fiction articles on some of the lesser-known characters or fascinating facts you've unearthed while doing research? This doubles as building buzz for your book release!
  5. Enter contests that give you a return on investment for your entry dollars. (i.e. actual writing feedback and getting your work in front of editors seeking what you write.) Pacific Northwest Writers Association annual contest is one that gives you two professional critiques for a reasonable entry fee.
  6. Consider writing a business, not a hobby.
  7. Keep track of submissions = it becomes more like a game = thicker skin = more submissions = improved chances of publication!
Submission Chart
Find a system that is quick and easy for you to create and use to keep better track of submissions. Make a simple chart, spreadsheet, or use a poster board and markers. A box of color-coded index cards is another way to keep track. Keep it simple and you will use it!

Put columns across the top of your chart such as:
Editor or Agent    
Pub/Agency House   
Source of Contact     
Date Sent
Date Reply Expected
Date Actual Reply
Comments/Follow-up Requested

Nobody said this was easy or fair, but thicken your skin and submit s'more. Add extra columns to the chart above for Income and #Sales. I printed several blank charts and three-hole punched them into a binder. I scribble with whatever pencil or pen is handy to jot down the details on the chart as I send them out and receive replies. You will see more rejections—but a golden ticket might be hiding in the Wonka bar, too!

How many times did you submit the same writing before it was accepted for publication? 
Have you found exceptional contests or other methods of getting your work out there?


  1. Suzy, I saw this post and once again, you've encouraged me -- to work harder, to not get discouraged, to develop that thick skin. Thanks for another great post!

    Here's to all of us finding that golden ticket.

  2. Suzanne, what great tips for getting published. It really is about having perseverance. I love the title!

  3. Dear Suzanne,
    You are right the more you submit, the better your submissions become through experience and finesse you learn along the way. Put your name in your blog post, so people know that you wrote it.

    Celebrate you.
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

  4. Wonderful post, Suzanne, and so true. The more we submit, the better chance of connecting with an agent or editor. To submit, we're forced to go over our manuscripts several times to make them the best they can be. We learn by doing. I so agree that we get great tips from successful authors. I especially liked the suggestion that we be optimistic with our submissions (even after we get rejected).

  5. Thanks Suzanne for this inspiring post. After a rejection, sometimes I feel like everything I did was wrong, but you're right. I learned a lot with each submission and need to just keep on working at it.

    I did get a lot of encouragement from entering a contest. I didn't win, but was a finalist. That gave me another plus for my writing resume and they even provided a finalist button for my website. It was a romance writers contest.

    Thanks for the great post and ideas.

  6. Thank you for everyone's wonderful comments. You are all inspirations to me. I feel the saying "It takes a village" is so true for the writing community.