How did you become a published writer?

For those of you who have been published, how did you do it? Like many writers here, my main goal is to have my work published one day. I know it takes time, hard work, and definitely dedication but what is your secret?

Late night thoughts…:sweat_smile::roll_eyes:


Hi there,

This seems better fitted in the #industry-insider (and you’ll probably get more responses there too)

Thanks for understanding,
Fray - Community Ambassador :frog:

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I’m published in nonfiction.

I was an early adopter in my field and ran a large, grassroots website and Yahoo group on the subject. I was also an instructional designer, so explaining things clearly and teaching people was second nature to me. I decided to write a Q&A book to answer the 100 most common questions about the subject.

I started writing the book and researched nonfiction book proposals. I followed the instructions on putting together a book proposal to the letter. (It’s not a short, easy thing to put together. I worked hard on it!!)

It happens that there’s a small publisher who specializes in my field. I submitted directly to them. I had the established platform, the writing chops, and a good idea, so they jumped on it. I think I got a call less than a week later offering me a contract.


I submitted to a magazine looking for a very specific kind of short story. In hindsight I wonder if I was the only one who DID submit and meet their specs because it wasn’t really that good. Although for the time I did everything I could within the given time frame to polish, get critiques, edit, so on.

It was a pro pay rate so hey, not bad.

I’ve had a lot of near-misses since then with other pro-rate markets, although I had to take a few years off from submitting due to real life stuff.

Websites like submission grinder are helpful finding markets for short-ish fiction, and specify how much (if any) that market will pay. Also their turn around time which is usually significant for fiction if you’re not a big name.

Where do you find magazines like that? Are there sites where short story comps are in a neat list? I know there’s one for the Netherlands, but I literally joined the only writing competition that matched my abilities for 2019…

I found them all through submission grinder.
Search for your genre, word count and sort by pay rate.

Heads up: writers of the future is a big big contest but it’s actually affiliated with scientology and if you enter you get emails from them for YEARS. It’s not worth it.


Don’t mind me bookmarking this…

It takes a lot of time and a whole lotta rejection. I’m in the midst of publishing my first book right now (yeee! just became available for pre-order yesterday, i’m still a bit loony) and it’s been a roller coaster of emotions and a lot of hard work. There was also the element of knowing someone in the industry and getting my foot in the door. It’s really, really important to make connections and to take risks.

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Hola, yo estoy publicada en romance, lo hice a través de Amazon, pero mi tetralogía merece una buena editorial que venda libros en serio. Amazon me sirvió para cumplir el sueño de tener un ejemplar de libros, MIOS, en mis manos, pero tras un año, he vendido menos de cien ejemplares de los tres libros de la Tetralogía de la vida que hay a la venta y la verdad es que me gustaría emprender en serio. También estoy metida ahora en un fan fic, sobre la serie de TV y saga literaria Outlander, de Diana Gabaldon. Está siendo mi obra mas leida, la precuela que DG nos prometió sobre los padres de Jamie Fraser, el protagonista de la saga. Me da mucha pena que una obra tan buena como la que estoy escribiendo, jamás pueda ser publicada. En fin, es lo que hay. ¡Gracias!

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So, it really doesn’t matter how “I” did it (or anyone else for that matter). The stories to publishing seem to be pretty varied. But to answer your question.

  1. I spent about 10 years querying 13 projects, and none of them got picked up so I quit.

  2. I came back to writing on the condition I wouldn’t try to publish. My wife took up that task, did a bunch of querying, and finally found me an agent.

  3. My agent spent a year trying to sell my book and got no where and then quit the business because her husband came down with a terminal disease.

  4. My wife found a small press that picked up my first book. It “sold out” it’s print run but didn’t “move the needle” and produced me $0 in income.

  5. When the small press didn’t have the money to print my second book I self-published it, and books #3 - #5 (and eventually #1 when the rights reverted).

  6. I started doing pretty well in self-publishing so tried for traditional again. My series was picked up by a big-five publisher and re-published.


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