Process of Becoming a Published Fiction Writer
by Ron Kurtus (revised 20 February 2013)
The first step in becoming a published fiction author is writing an interesting story. That starts with determining what sort of fiction you enjoy writing. You need a passion for the theme, style or subject matter. You need to know the writing craft in order to effectively write your stories. You might practice, simply to hone your abilities.
Next, you should examine the fiction market in your genre to see what sort of outlets there for what you write. Pick a market and audience a write your story with them in mind. You want to write an interesting story that people will want to read.
Finally, you submit your work to publishers, get accepted and see your work in print.
Questions you may have include:
- How do you write an interesting story?
- How do you find a market for your work?
- How do you submit the story to a publisher?
This lesson will answer those questions.
Write an interesting story
Fiction consists of writing stories about fabricated people and events.
Passion for writing
You need to select an area or type of fiction in which you are extremely interested. Often, you can find this by examining the type of fiction you enjoy reading. You should almost have a passion for writing stories in this genre.
As part of your passion for writing, it is important to learn the craft of fiction writing and to hone your skills by writing short pieces that you do not plan to sell (at least not right now).
Know your craft
Writers get ideas for stories from various sources. Although you could just let your imagination take over and write down a story, it is good to know the elements and structure in fiction so that you can write a good story.
The elements of fiction include the characters, setting, plot and theme or message of the story. Without interesting characters or a compelling plot or story-line, your fiction may not attract many readers.
You can get ideas from your own life experiences or from those of friends or people you know. Some fiction writers create imaginary persona's that seem to take on a life of their own. Ideas can come from anywhere, but being observant and always keeping in mind the potential for a good story can be the best source.
Write, write, write
Also, your story should flow and be well written. Having the work proofread and edited by another person is often a good idea.
Study fiction market
Before writing a fictional story, you really need to examine the market and know where you can get your work published. The best way to find out where you can get your fiction published is to examine where you read fiction.
What type of fiction books do you read? Who are the publishers of those books? Could you write a book just as good as or better than has been published?
Besides the major publishers of fiction books, there are smaller ones that will accept new writers.
What magazines publish fiction stories that you read? Would you like to write for such a magazine?
Have you run across any websites that publish fiction? Did you read any of the fiction? If you haven't bothered reading some stories, it is possible that others will feel the same way.
Just getting published is not the goal. You want people to read what you've written.
You need to convince publishers that your work is of interest to their readers and worth publishing.
For approaching book publishers, have a literary agent is helpful. But you also need to convince the agent that your work will make him or her money, in order to get the commitment.
Typically, you first send a query letter that includes a very brief explanation of your story. You may then follow up with a phone call, before you send in your manuscript or sample of your work.
For getting published in magazines, it is worth establishing a relationship with the publisher, so you will get preference for other stories.
If you are an unpublished writer, don't be concerned with how much money you will get. You need to build up a reputation and demand for your stories in order for you to start financial negotiations.
The process of becoming a published fiction writer first starts with determining what sort of fiction you enjoy writing, knowing the writing craft in order to effectively write your stories, and hone your abilities. Next, you should examine the fiction market in your genre and pick a market and audience to write your story with them in mind. Finally, you submit your work to publishers, get accepted and see your work in print.
Prepare to succeed
Resources and references
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Process of Becoming a Published Fiction Writer