May 5, 2015

56 Quotes and Strategies for Getting Published.

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“May your stride be longer returning from the mailbox than on the way to it.” ~ Paul Raymond Martin

If you’re like me, as a writer, you dream of a bookshelf that holds a book you’ve authored.

The mist-shrouded, winding road from when the book emerges via your soul—through your heart and mind, to your fingertips, to the typewriter, to the publisher and that satisfying image on the bookshelf—is indeed a mysterious journey.

I have digested quite a few books on “how to get published,” and all of them have left me distraught, as they seem complicate the matter to an endless degree. Surely, there must be advice that doesn’t just bleat on about the difficulties of receiving an envelope declaring a victorious submission.

Ah, but there is! Once, while browsing a small town bookstore (the best activity there is, right?), I happened upon a tiny little blue book, no bigger than my hand, entitled “Getting Published,” by Paul Raymond Martin, which boasts more than 300 secrets and strategies for success.

What’s uber cool about this book is that it’s quite motivational—even though advice normally makes me quake. I think it’s because the difficult words are sandwiched between uplifting quotes. It’s stuffed with gems from successful authors and editors, people who’ve found their way through the quagmire of writing and publishing and have wise words to spare. Finally, hope!

I devoured it. All in one sitting. And then, with time, I began to digest all the seemingly simple words that reflected a deep profundity.

Choosing only 56 quotes from this ingenious work was difficult. These found me broken and hopeless and offered light at the end of the tunnel. I hope they do the same for you.

1.Self-Editing and Rewriting: Fail Your Way To Success

“Never allow the editor in your head to dampen the emotions in your heart or the enthusiasm in your soul.” ~Paul Raymond Martin (PRM)

“The most useful skill a writer can acquire is the ability to edit one’s work ruthlessly.” ~ PRM

“The only editor who can change your second-tier writing into first-tier writing is you.” ~ PRM

“Good writers pretend they are editing someone else’s work.” ~ PRM

“Leave out the parts readers skip.” ~ PRM

“Books are human documents, which means they should have ‘fingerprints’ on them, evidence that a mess went into creating them.” ~ Carole Maso, author of “Defiance” and “Break Every Rule”

“You know you’ve learned to edit your own work when you can throw out your best writing simply because it does not belong.” ~ PRM

2. Confidence: No Fair Hiding Stuff In A Drawer

“Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money. ~ Jules Renard, French novelist and playwright

“Write as well as you can, say what you have to say, and then find a market for your work. ~ PRM

“Writing fosters the illusion that you needn’t bother with the world. Publication disposes of that illusion.” ~ PRM

“We write to taste life twice.” ~ Anais Nin

“No writer was ever born published.” ~ PRM

“If you’re not writing for publication, you’re writing a diary.” ~ PRM

“Write what you want and the money will follow. If it doesn’t, at least you wrote what you wanted.” ~ PRM

3. The Pitch: Never Submit A Story Still Damp With Inspiration

“In selling your work, don’t try to do everything other writers do. Focus on strategies that suit you.” ~ PRM

“No matter how strong your query letter is, the quality of your writing matters most.” ~ PRM

“Nothing can destroy a good writer. The only thing that can alter the good writer is death.” ~ William Faulkner, Nobel Prize winning novelist

“Never excuse your work as ‘just a draft.'” ~ PRM

“When you publish a book, it’s the world’s book. The world edits it.” ~ Phillip Roth, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist

“Never denigrate the publications in which your work has appeared—especially your early work.” ~ PRM

“Let your story or article sit before you submit it, but only for a day or two, perhaps a week. Then polish and send off to market.” ~ PRM

4. Agents and Editors:

“No agent can sell your manuscript. An agent can only represent your manuscript. The manuscript must sell itself.” ~ PRM

“An effective editor reads on behalf of all her readers—and is equally hard to please.” ~ PRM

“Editors are not the enemy. They want the same thing you want—a good book.” ~ PRM

“My role as I see it, is to be the writer’s best reader.” ~ Faith Sale, noted fiction editor

“Editors read all day and night: Neatness counts. Format counts. Spelling counts. Grammar counts. Syntax counts. Everything counts.” ~ PRM

“Your agent must absolutely love your work to represent it effectively.” ~ PRM

“Far more often than not, editors are right when they spot a problem. But it remains the writer’s job to figure out how to fix it.” ~ PRM

5. Selling Your Book: The Private Joy of Being Published

“By the time I sold my first novel, I had learned it was impossible to do so.” ~ Sarah Willis, award winning novelist and workshop instructor

“Every book category exists because somebody wrote a book that didn’t fit into any of the existing categories.” ~ PRM

“Devote less energy to finding your niche and more energy to creating it.” ~ PRM

“All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of “This Side of Paradise”

“Your reputation as a writer is redefined with every piece you publish.” ~ PRM

“The private joy of being published seeps into one’s being over time and colors all subsequent events.” ~ PRM

“Readers, editors and publishers always want more of the same…only different.” ~ PRM

6. Rejection:

“Rejected pieces aren’t failures; unwritten pieces are.” ~ Greg Daugherty, author and magazine editor

“A letter of rejection is an opinion, not a judgement.” ~ PRM

“When you get a rejection slip, congratulate yourself. You can’t get rejected unless you’re writing and submitting your work.” ~ PRM

“If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise; attack it at an hour when it isn’t expecting it.” ~ H.G. Wells, author of “The War of The Worlds”

“You become a writer when you write—not when someone decides your writing will be published.” ~ PRM

“For well written work, each rejection slip represents an error in submission, nothing more.” ~ PRM

“Ultimately, you must trust your own judgement not that of the marketplace—when determining the worth of your writing.” ~ PRM

7. Promotion and Book Tours: Relish the Process

“A person who publishes a book appears willfully in public with his pants down.” ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay, Pulitzer Prize winning poet

“Your book must be strong enough to sell to strangers. Not friends. Not relatives. Not colleagues.” ~ PRM

“Never give away a copy of your book to anyone who might buy it—except maybe your mother.” ~ PRM

“The best way to keep your sanity while trying to sell a book is to start writing the next one.” ~ PRM

“You will have to give up something in order to make time to promote your book.” ~ PRM

“The only time you can safely stop promoting your books is when you’re ready to stop writing them.” ~ Jay Conrad Levinson, Rick Frishman and Michael Larsen, coauthors of “Guerilla Marketing for Writers”

“Relish the Process. You are doing what you dreamed of doing as you wrote the book. ~ PRM

8. Readers and Writers:

“If you don’t read for pleasure, you’ll lose your edge as a writer.” ~ Nora Roberts, author of Winner Takes All

“The reality created by the human mind while reading is unmatched by any technology.” ~ PRM

“Writing is a partnership. Hold hands with your reader’s imagination.” ~ PRM

“Write not to lead your reader to answers, but to questions.” ~ PRM

“Revere the reader, for the reader allows the writer access to his most private sanctuaries: the mind and the heart.” ~ PRM

“In a good novel, the book changes the protagonist. In an exceptional novel, the book changes the reader.” ~ PRM

“A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on a purpose to a life beyond a life.” ~ John Milton, author of Paradise Lost


I could go on, but perhaps this little book will make it into your hands one day. It is truly a treasure in a sea of sunken ships.


Author: Monika Carless

Editor: Evan Yerburgh

Image: “Chimpanzee Typing,” New York Zoological Society, 1907 (public domain)

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