QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Monday, December 29, 2008

7 Characteristics You Need To Get Published - Part Two

An article written by Elana Johnson, Carolyn Kaufman and Suzette Saxton

(Be sure to check out Part I from yesterday!

You've perfected your masterpiece and begun the submission process. Perhaps you have a partial, or maybe even a full, in the hands of an agent. You obsessively check your email every five minutes and jump each time the phone rings. In short, you no longer have control over your own project, which can leave you feeling discombobulated. Now what?

The following characteristics will help you through the times ahead - and improve your odds of reaching publication.

Characteristic 5: Professionalism

Understand that publishing is a business, and that agents and editors are trying to find books publishers—and eventually readers—will want to spend their hard-earned money to buy. That means you need to conduct yourself like a professional. While this might seem obvious, you must treat everyone you deal with, from agents’ assistants all the way up to publishing heads, with courtesy. Even if you don’t like what they’re telling you.

Never send hate mail back to agents or editors. (You might be surprised how often publishing professionals have to deal with this.) Also realize that form responses are normal — if you had to read hundreds of queries every month, you’d send them too! Don't take rejection as a personal attack—it's just business.

Characteristic 6: Patience

It takes patience to see your dream of being published come true. Not only patience to write the book—which doesn't happen in a single sitting—but patience to wait for responses from beta readers, critique groups, and then agents, editors, and publishers. Some respond immediately. Some are a little slower, but will respond eventually. And some won’t respond at all. In each case, your patience will be tried.

Characteristic 7: Luck

Before you decide that you’re doomed because you’ve never won the lottery (or even a door prize drawing), you need to know that we’re talking about the kind of luck you make for yourself. There is an old Chinese tenet, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” So first, be prepared. And then cultivate your own luck. Lucky writers behave in ways that create good fortune in their lives. For example, they read agent and industry blogs (like this one!) to get a feel for what different agents like. They notice and act upon chance opportunities, follow their intuition, look for the bright side of every situation, and are certain their future is promising. Their outlook becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy, creating the perfect environment for “luck” to flourish. Remember, it only takes one positive response!

Put All Those Characteristics Together: Indomitable Spirit

Incorporating these seven traits will result in the indomitable spirit necessary to succeed in the publishing industry. What is Indomitable Spirit? It’s an attitude or state of mind in which you are impossible to frighten or defeat. Never, never, never give up on your dreams.

“People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

About the Authors
Elana Johnson finished college against nearly-impossible odds, a struggle much like dealing with the publishing world. Visit her at http://elanajohnson.blogspot.com/ for more publishing insights. Visit psychologist/writer Carolyn Kaufman at http://archetypewriting.com/ and learn more about how to use psychology accurately in your writing. Find “The Bone Setter,” Suzette Saxton’s most recently published work, here: http://www.mindflights.com/item.php?sub_id=4283.


Anonymous said...

Linked ya'll on my blog...

Carolyn Kaufman | @CMKaufman said...

Thank you!!! :-)

Stina said...

I'm going to print these 7 charactistics and post them by my computer. Thanks for the great new blog.

Elana Johnson said...

Glad you found them useful, Stina!