post by Michelle Griep
#1. Learn the craft.
You have to know the writing rules to break the writing rules. Yes, even if you're wearing a leather jacket and have a pack of Pall Malls rolled up in your tee-shirt sleeve. How can you rebel if you don't know what you're rebelling against? There are certain writing rules you need to know simply to have an intelligent conversation with another writer, things like point of view, showing vs. telling, writing tight, or the endless debate on whether a Pilot G3 beats out a Uni-Ball Jetstream (and it does, every flipping time).
#2. Write a kick a** story.
Even when you've learned the craft of writing, story is still king. If a reader doesn't care about the sweeping saga of a lovestruck coyote pining for a rock badger in Colonial America, you're not going to sell the dang thing. There's got to be an oh-my-goodness-what-happens-next kind of breadcrumb trail to lead your reader from beginning to end.
#3. Breathe life into your characters.
And not just the hero and heroine, baby. Any character that shows up in your story needs to be a person of interest, even if that "person" is a dolphin. Your reader needs to relate to your characters in some way, shape, or form or they just won't care a fig about them. And personally, I hate figs. Fig Newtons included.
#4. Finish what you start.
Newsflash: if you keep re-writing and overthinking the first few chapters, you'll never type "The End." Seriously, didn't you learn this in preschool? Listen up, class. When we begin a project, we should see it through to completion. Unless, of course, you're sheet-rocking a ceiling. In that case, just hire it out.
#5. Slap on a smile and get out there and network.
I understand you're an introvert. Most writers are. Still, they do sell big boy and big girl undies at Target. Just ask a clerk. The point is that you need to suck it up and go meet agents and editors. They are the gatekeepers for traditional publishers. And even if you decide to self-publish, you'll need to network to get the word out about your book.
There you have it, kids. It really is as simple as pounding your head against the wall. Getting published takes perseverance and a bucketload of blood, sweat and tears, so stock up on band-aids, deodorant, and kleenex and you'll be good to go.