Tuesday, July 26, 2016

WHY Won’t They Publish…?

There are a lot of websites and blogs that offer nice checklists to go through and make certain a manuscript is ready for submission or publication. Just internet-search any variation of this post’s title, and you’ll be amazed. Help is there.

The thing is-- none of these checklists, handy-dandy though they be, really tells you if your offering will get published. You may go through these point by point and remain frustrated.

Here's a typical, and sensible, list to consider:

*Is the story properly classified? Have you submitted to the right publishers/agents? Check/Check

*Have you taken care of typos and other pesky technical things? Check

*Is the premise unique? Check

*Is the premise not so unique that no one knows what to make of it? Check

*Are the stakes high enough? The plot riveting enough? The characters engaging enough? Check/Check/Check

*Have you run it by good readers who would tell you the truth? Check

And so on, and so forth. Now what?

I don’t have the answer. But the single thing I find most helpful, inspiring and encouraging— is go to my local bookstore. (Yup, I’m lucky to still have many nearby.) There, I read recently published books aimed at the same readers I am working for.
© By Karla Gudeon

Inspiring, because the level is generally high and the examples push me to excel. Encouraging, because some of the books are not nearly as good as they could be, and I believe I can do as well or better. Helpful, because the best checklist is to simply read good books that made the bar, and try to understand why.


  1. Great post! When I'm looking for encouragement or just a reference if I'm on the right track, I do the same thing Mirka! I hold myself up to similarly published works and see how I pan out!

  2. Good advice! Thanks for sharing. This writing/publishing career does get discouraging.

  3. Good tip, Mirka! I recently read two MG novels, Echo and The War that Saved My Life. Interesting to read from a writer's perspective.

  4. It's often tough to judge your own work too. But beta readers and critique partners are great for that.

  5. Great post! And I love the illustration of the woman reading!

  6. I would love to read your books. I only read voice of thunder. Can I buy them on Amazon and download?

    1. My published picture book is also available on Amazon and in a few bookstores. Thank you for visiting here, Esther.

  7. Your last two sentences are so honest and uplifting, Mirka. I'm not as lucky in that I don't have bookstores near where I live now (except for those that only sell bestsellers). But I'm incredibly fortunate for my library. I check out books that make me aim for their quality of moving storytelling, and also for books that snap jolts of realization: that I can do better.

  8. Great check list. I love to read hot-off-the-press books similar to what I try to write and yes, they can be inspiring as well as encouraging for just the reasons you mention.