You’ve typed ‘The End’. You’ve pruned, perfected and polished your manuscript until it shines. You are done. It’s as good as you can make it. Hooray!
So, now what?
If you’re not an established author and/or you don’t have an agent and/or self publishing isn’t for you, I’ve got good news! Some Australian publishers still accept unsolicited manuscripts.
That may be where the good news ends. From what I gather, successfully publishing a book in this country is hard. Really, really, really HARD.
Yep, well writing a book is hard too.
The slush pile shindig
I went on a magical mystery tour through several publisher submission sites recently and spoiler alert: every publisher has their own unique process and that’s the one they want you to follow.
If you turn up uninvited at a party and you’d like to stay, then it’s probably a good idea not to irritate your host. So, best read the fine print and make your submission count.
Then brace yourself for a wait. The length of time to consider a manuscript ranges from two weeks to nine months. Some publishers will contact you whether or not you’ve been successful but most simply state that if you haven’t heard from them in a given time, assume they’re not interested.
The NSW Writers’ Centre page on getting published is well worth a look and other professional organisations such as the Australian Society of Authors and the Australian Publishers Association also have resources that can help.
Publisher’s sometimes hold open days which are great opportunities to introduce yourself and get real clarity on their submissions process.
If you do an online search you’ll also find many articles with useful tips and traps but as always, beware anyone who promises fame and fortune in exchange for your credit card details.
Remember too, being a writer isn’t dependent on being published (although goodness knows it would be nice!). Rejection by every publisher except the one you eventually sign with is normal (or so I’m told).
If you need a bit of a boost, take a moment to Google ‘literary rejections’ – there are many successful authors that have wonderful tales of woe to share, in fact if you find yourself in front of one, go ahead and ask. I imagine it’s hard to find a published author who hasn’t ever presented a beloved manuscript only to hear the word ‘no’.