How to be a Published Writer: 10 Things you need to Know

Do you want to get your writing published?

Here’s 10 things you need to know that will ensure you and your work will stand head and shoulders above everyone else.

Hello and a very warm welcome to Writerly Witterings.  I’m back this month with another ‘ten ways’ blog post, and this time it’s 10 Ways to get your Writing Published.

Be sure to keep reading to the end as I’ve a couple of exciting giveaways there.

YouTube Channel

Speaking of exciting, before I get into the gold of this month’s blog post, let me tell you what’s coming up over on my YouTube channel very soon…

From Friday 15th July, I’m going to be hosting a LIVE weekly ‘Writing Lunch.'  Writing can be a solitary activity, but it needn’t be.  I’ll be LIVE from 12 noon (bst) each Friday, working on my own thing, and you can use the space to work alongside me.  Bring your lunch, of course!

There’ll also be the opportunity to ask me questions at the end of the hour-long writing time about your work in progress, or writing in general. I’m really excited about this and hope it will become a long-term thing.  The link for the first live stream is below – you can use it to set a reminder.

This is in addition to the monthly Writerly Witterings, Readerly Ramblings and my regular weekly videos. Subscribing to my channel here, and hitting that notification bell will make sure you don’t miss a single thing.

Getting published, for many beginner writers, is a much-sought-after ambition.  Whether you’re about to set off on that journey or have already embarked on it, my ten tips will ensure success for you and your writing.  Some of the tips are designed to make you stand out in front of prospective publishers, literary agents and readers, whilst others are around mindset and self organisation.  Read on!

Prior to Submitting

  1. Build your list of achievements as a writer – your curriculum vitae of successes. These could be inclusions in anthologies or other publications.  Or recognition on writing competitions.  Not just winning them either – being longlisted or shortlisted still deserves to be shouted about!
  2. Have a website, at the very least, a basic one. It’s free and dare I say it – easier to build on WordPress.  You’ll need an ‘about me’ page, contact details, other writing related services you might offer such as proofreading and information about what you’re currently working on.  You could also host a blog via your website.  This might be about your writing journey, the craft of writing or a subject your writing deals with.  A blog not only showcases your writing to the world, it can also engage your prospective readers prior to publication.
  3. Have a presence on social media. It’s one of the first places you’ll be looked for by anyone interested in you and your work. Prospective publishers will expect to see you there and it will reassure them that you’ll be willing and able to promote yourself when the time comes.

Whilst Submitting

  1. Only send your VERY best work. Ensure it has been thoroughly edited and proofread.  If possible, get someone else to read it before sending.  We get so close to our own work and can become immune to our own typos – I know I do!
  2. Pay attention to the presentation. Make sure it’s exactly as they’re asking for it.  Publishers often specify what details they would like in the header and footer of your submission and will sometimes specify a font, font size and their spacing requirements.
  3. Following on from this, make sure you thoroughly check all the submission guidelines, ensure you’re sending exactly what they want, how and when they want it. For example, if a publishers who’s interested in crime fiction opens its submission window in June and asks for the first three chapters and a synopsis, don’t send them a romance short story in February.  Another word on this – tempting as though it may be, don’t submit your work before it’s totally completed.  Believe me, I found this out the hard way when I entered an international debut novelist award.  On the strength of my first three chapters and a synopsis, I got into the final ten and had ticked the box to say the novel was ready, where in reality, it was all still at first draft stage.  When they wanted the full manuscript I had to cancel my life for two weeks and work night and day to deliver it on time!

After Submitting

  1. Keep a record of all your submissions. It’s difficult to remember what you’ve sent to who, and when. Some publishers will ask that you only submit to them – they’ll use the words, no simultaneous submissions.  However, many have at least an eight week turnaround window and some tell you that if you haven’t heard within X amount of weeks or months even, you should assume they will not be proceeding. Therefore, I advise sending to several at a time, keeping a careful record and if you are in the happy place of a publisher asking for the full manuscript, it just takes a quick email to withdraw your work from the others.
  2. This is a biggie – at all stages of the process, you really HAVE TO believe in yourself as a writer and your work. You will get rejections, there’s no way to sugar coat it – even JK Rowling was rejected 13 times.  If the publisher or agent gives you any crumbs of feedback, be sure to consider it carefully.
  3. Another one on mindset – be persistent. A very successful author whose work I love and who I met at a conference, Linda Green had no fewer than 103 rejections before a publisher snapped her up.  When you get a rejection, receive it, think about it for five minutes, then move on.  It’s their loss.  They’ll probably be kicking themselves in the future as much as the publishers who turned down Harry Potter!  My book, The Man Behind Closed Doors, was the book I mentioned before which got shortlisted.  It then went on to receive 46 rejections from traditional publishers.  I couldn’t have gone on to receive 103 like Linda Green so I utilised my plan B, publishing the Indie way which I’ll talk more about in next month’s Writerly Witterings.  As an independently published author, I've sold over 100,000 copies of books across my catalogue so far.

And whilst you are waiting for a response…

  1. Work on something else.  Pour all your expertise into a subsequent writing project.  Writers only ever get better at their craft, so practice, hone and polish. And keep me posted!

So there you have it.  You’re now armed and dangerous with some good advice as you head out into the world of traditional publishing.  Just remember that it’s a two-way street – the publishers and agents are lucky you’ve chosen them to submit to. They’re going to make money out of you, so choose carefully.

Short Story Book Giveaway

Now onto the exciting things I was telling you about at the beginning of this blog post – firstly, this is your last chance to enter the prize draw to win these books, Write a Collection of Short Stories in a Year, along with its companion notebook.  The link to enter the draw is here.

Free Short Story Guide to Download

And whilst I’m talking about short stories, let me tell you about a guide I’ve put together on getting started with writing a short story.  It’s packed full of inspiration and free for you to download via this link.

That’s about it for this month – be sure to let me know your own thoughts on traditional publishing in the comments, or just drop in there to say hello – I love to hear from other writers.  And don’t forget about the first writing lunch which will happen on Friday 15th July, from 12 noon (bst), then each Friday thereafter.

Until then, happy writing and I’ll see you in the next video – bye for now.

With best wishes,

Maria Frankland

Buy Me a Coffee!

In view of the publishing advance that will be coming your way after this month’s blog post, you might want to buy me a coffee! As you know, we writers drink gallons of the stuff.

As a thankyou, I’ll send you five of my exclusive help sheets for writers for each coffee.  And for three coffees, I’ll send you all sixteen. Click here to check them out - this is the only way you can get hold of them!


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