Three Steps to Get You Closer To Publication

Monday, October 26, 2015
Last month, my first published books arrived! They were English books written for the Korean educational market. Not surprisingly, my kidlit writer friends have asked how I came to write books for the Korean educational market, and usually, I say it was just luck. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve come to see that it wasn’t “just” luck. There were a couple steps I took along the way to publication, steps that I’ve seen work time and time again.


Most writers join professional writing organizations or other writing groups in order to learn more about writing, and that’s always a good thing. But making connections in those groups is even better.

It was a writing friend from a group I joined years ago who passed along my name. She was asked about writer/teachers who might be interested in opportunities in the Korean educational market. The publisher doesn’t post writer guidelines; they work through connections. And they’re not the only ones who follow that formula. Editors often ask for recommendations, so join up, get to know your writer friends, and maybe you’ll be recommended next!


So now you’ve joined an organization, but maybe there’s hundreds of people in the group. How do you get to know people? How do people get to know you? Volunteer!

And you don’t have to be that person in the top tier of the organization, or even the one who’s comfortable up on the stage, talking to everybody. Writers are often introverts by nature, I know, so volunteer in a capacity that suits you. For example, if you’re great with directions and love driving, volunteer to pick up an agent or editor from the airport. That’s thirty minutes to an hour of wonderful one-on-one time!

Of course, not everyone can pick up the agents or editors. But when you volunteer, perhaps you’ll get invited to a volunteer dinner at the end of a conference. That’s how our SCBWI region thanks volunteers, and so for a couple hours, we have the opportunity to chat with all the speakers at the conference. I know writers who’ve received book contracts, just because of a fortuitous conversation at dinner!


Mostly, make sure that you’ve done the work so you’re well-prepared when opportunities come along. Learn your craft. Write, write, and write some more. Know what’s going on in your chosen field. And be open to whatever may come your way.

Sure, luck has a little something to do with finding publishing success. But if you follow a couple simple steps, lucky opportunities will find you!

~Cathy C. Hall


Sioux Roslawski said...

Cathy--It sounds like lots of hard work + a little luck + a couple of connections + s pinch of the right time and right place = publishing success.

Congratulations. I'm sure that when you travel to Korea for your book signings, Koreans will flock to get you to sign their copies...

Debra Mayhew said...

I used to think publication was largely dependent on OTHER people and whether or not they found/liked my writing. But there really is a ton that I can do on my own to make it happen, which is a real relief to know. I absolutely believe joining a writers group is huge and I'm glad you reminded me of that. It's time to join up with the SCBWI folks here!

Tina Cho said...

Great post! And awesome cake! Congrats again on your books.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Well, I know all of that is true, because I met you in a writing group, and you've influenced my writing career more than anyone else. (Thank you, thank you, thank you!) If it wasn't for you, I'd likely still be staring at my computer thinking, "I wonder if I could ever be a real writer?" So joining groups is important, and the friendships that arise are pretty great, too. :) As to volunteering...*sigh*...took your advice. Gonna do it. I know I won't regret it. You haven't been wrong yet. (Does that ever get old?)

Linda O'Connell said...

You have been blessed with a magnetic personality and the ability to see what readers want. You know what you want and how to go get it. Your name is out there, half way across the world. Congratulations.

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