Feature by Anna Bell
When you’re trying to become a published author one of the biggest problems can be having the right attitude. Too confident about your book and you risk missing constructive criticism when it’s given to you, too unconfident and you risk giving up when you face knock backs. My best advice, even though I sound like a cheesy nineties cereal commercial, is that you’ve got to adopt a positive mental attitude. One full of self-belief and determination mixed with endless positivity and enthusiasm.
I’m sure there are many brilliant manuscripts lurking in drawers and taking up disk space on computers because people gave up trying to get them published. If it really is your dream to put your book in front of readers than don’t stop until you do it. There are lots of ways now to get your book published, traditional agent/publisher, self-publishing and digital publishing imprints who you can submit directly too. There aren’t any fixed routes anymore to get published, for example I self-published three books, and my third one was spotted by a traditional publisher (and then bought by a different one).
When you watch TV talents shows, be it The X-Factor, Britain’s Got Talent or even the Apprentice, it’s usually easy to spot who’s going to go far in the series. It’s often not the person who's the most talented but the one that seems extremely hungry to win. If you watch them they’re the people that listen to the feedback they’re given and they don’t waste the opportunities to show their talents off at every chance they’re given. It’s that attitude that you, as an unpublished writer, should channel for submissions, social media and networking events.
There will be times when criticism and rejection will get you down. Unless you’re extraordinarily lucky and your debut gets picked up for a six figure sum, you’re going to face some knocks during your writing career. Whenever you sub to an agent who “just didn’t love your work enough to represent it” or to a publisher that “didn’t think the idea was strong enough”, it will hurt - it’s your book baby after all. After some criticism, you might feel like giving up - don’t! Instead of letting the rejection get you down, let it fuel you. Prove them wrong and let them be the people that missed out on what went on to become a bestseller.
As an aspiring author, you’ve got to be your number one fan. You’ve got to become a cheerleader for your own book and shout about it with pride. After all, if you don’t believe your book is good enough to sit on the shelves alongside your favourite authors, then no agent or publisher will either. Have faith in your abilities, be determined and above all be positive, and keep on going. It might not be an easy journey, but if it’s your dream you’ll get there - one way or another!