Study classical and popular works in your favorite writing genre.
Consider what draws readers to a particular poem, story, article, or book.
Study magazines and other publications you like to read.
Get familiar with the book catalogues of publishers whose work you like.
Consider potential gaps that your story, poem, article, or book might fill.
Plan your fiction or nonfiction manuscript before you begin.
Decide on a theme, purpose, and reading audience.
Thoroughly research your topic or story setting.
Outline each article or nonfiction book.
Write a synopsis of your novel in present tense.
Both the synopsis and the outline should be from 1 to 5 pages.
Writing, Revising, and Marketing:
Let your writing flow without criticizing yourself, then let your work rest.
Later read those pages as if someone else had written them.
Read your work aloud and notice if anything seems “off.”
Pinpoint a problem, and you will usually find a solution.
Revise to make the manuscript your best before you send it to a publisher.
Find and follow writers’ guidelines located on the company’s website.
Query several editors at once about an idea or book proposal, but when you submit your actual manuscript, send it to only one editor at a time.
When mailing your manuscript by postal service, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) to cover its potential return.
Keep track of where, when, and to whom you mailed each manuscript.
If you don’t hear back in 3 months, follow up with a brief, polite email.
While you wait to hear from one editor, query another editor about your next idea.
Repeat the above steps.
©2015, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer and poet-author of 27 traditionally published books in all genres is on a mission to help other Christian Poets & Writers through blogs, writing resources, and e-books such as the Christian Writer’ Guide.