I read an article by Gary Provost a while ago where he outlined the steps for writers to take to get published. I thought it was brilliant, and adapted the words a bit. If you follow through on each of these steps, you WILL eventually have a published or self-published book!
(1) Learn to write well. Learn to express yourself clearly. Study the art and craft of good writing. Learn the difference between a semicolon and a colon (or else don’t use them). Learn to revise and polish your work — good writing usually involves more rewriting than initial writing.
(2) Write from your heart and soul. If you’re just doing it for the money, I don’t want to even hear your idea. The project should come from the deepest wellsprings of your life; it should be something you’re passionate about, something you’ll want to keep focusing on long after the book is in print. Otherwise, why invest so much of your time and energy into it?
(3) Study the market and the business of publishing. Become knowledgeable in your field. Learn how to make a good clean submission, with a clear, clean cover letter. Be friendly with publishers! Be on your best behavior. They’re considering you as a potential partner — and who wants to work with a jerk? Publishing works on the partnership model, not the dominator model. So be nice.
(4) Learn to sell. If your work is worthy of publication, it has something to offer readers. It has something to interest publishers. What is it? Learn to sell without being pushy and domineering — remember, you want to create a partnership with a publisher. Show them you have something valuable, without being shy, and without being aggressive.
(5) Be persistent. Keep on writing. A science-fiction writer I heard about wrote and submitted stories for 25 years before he finally got published. That’s persistence. Once you’ve submitted something, follow up a month or so later. Make sure they act on it, and don’t just let it sit in a pile somewhere (which is all too common — I’m guilty of that myself). Hang in there. As Bert Lahr said, “If you stay on the merry-go-round long enough, you’re sure to get the brass ring sooner or later.”
Marc Allen is a renowned author, composer, and speaker. On the day he turned thirty, Marc cofounded New World Library with Shakti Gawain, and as the company's president and publisher, he has guided it from a small start-up operation with no capital to become one of the leading publishers in its field. He has written numerous books, including The Greatest Secret of All, Visionary Business, The Millionaire Course, and The Type-Z Guide to Success. He has also recorded several albums of music, including Awakening, Breathe, and Solo Flight. He is a popular speaker and seminar leader based in the San Francisco Bay Area.