- First, please remember that the road to publication is rarely short. Often it takes years to start publishing well. Submission and rejection are both part of the process. Accept rejection and learn from it. Perseverance is crucial, and belief in yourself and your writing.
- Start with smaller publications. Literary magazines are a great place to send poetry and short stories. Don’t expect payment here. You are building a writer’s bio, and that is priceless. Try writing articles. Even if you want to write fiction, you’ll learn to research and to finish projects under deadlines.
- Join writers groups, especially critique groups, where you’ll have other eyes on your work. Often as writers we’re too close to our words to see when a story takes a wrong turn or that a character is flat.
- Take classes at a local college or adult learning program. Spelling, grammar, etc. most definitely do count. An editor at a big publishing house will not look twice at a manuscript with glaring errors.
- If you’re truly interested in writing for a living, DO NOT self-publish. While there are a few renowned exceptions to this rule, the fact is most big publishers will not pick up a self-published book and go on to publish it. Not only that, but self-publishing signals impatience on the writer’s part, something a big publisher won’t deal with. An exception to this is if your book has a definite niche within the marketplace, one you can fill on your own. For instance, a textbook for your own classroom. Marketing is the biggest issue with self-published books. And most bookstores won’t carry them.
- Once a book length manuscript is ready to go, go to writers’ conferences where you can meet editors and agents face to face to discuss your work. Often, they will critique manuscripts at conferences, and this is the best possible feedback, not to mention a great connection. Much better than submitting to the “slushpile” (just mailing it off and waiting to see what happens, along with those thousands of other manuscripts in the slushpile). And today many publishers don’t accept over-the-transom submissions.
Check out Ellen’s most recent work
The sequel to Tricks, her latest book follows five teenage victims of sex trafficking — from all walks of life and gender orientations — as they try to extricate themselves from their current situations and find a new way of life.
In her bestselling novel, Tricks, Ellen Hopkins introduced us to five memorable characters tackling these enormous questions: Eden, the preacher’s daughter who turns tricks in Vegas and is helped into a child prostitution rescue; Seth, the gay farm boy disowned by his father who finds himself without money or resources other than his own body; Whitney, the privileged kid coaxed into the life by a pimp and whose dreams are ruined in a heroin haze; Ginger, who runs away from home with her girlfriend and is arrested for soliciting an undercover cop; and Cody, whose gambling habit forces him into the life, but who is shot and left for dead.
And now, in Traffick, these five are faced with the toughest question of all: Is there a way out? How these five teenagers face the aftermath of their decisions and experiences is the soul of this story that exposes the dark, ferocious underbelly of the child trafficking trade. Heart wrenching and hopeful, Traffick takes us on five separate but intertwined journeys through the painful challenges of recovery, rehabilitation, and renewal to forgiveness and love. All the way home.
About the author
Ellen Hopkins is a poet, freelance writer, and the award-winning author of twenty nonfiction titles and five NY Times Bestselling novels-in-verse. She has published hundreds of articles on subjects ranging from aviation to child abuse to winegrowing.
Ellen mentors other writers through her position as a regional adviser for the Nevada chapter of the Society of Children√ïs Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
She is a regular speaker at schools; book festivals and writers conferences across the US, and now throughout the world.
Find her on the Web
November 13th – Heather Harlen – Top 5 or 10 List
November 13th – Alec John Belle – Review
November 13th – Confessions of a Kid-lit Lover – Review
November 13th – Melissa Martin’s Reading List – Review / Interview
November 13th – The Phantom Paragrapher – Review
November 13th – Teen Librarian Toolbox – Review / Interview
November 13th – Miranda’s Book Blog – Guest Post