EXCERPT from "The Seven Habits that Got Me Published" by Shelley Bates in Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction
One of the longest journeys a writer will take is the road to that first sale. Whether you’re sweating it out under the broiling sun of rejection, or running headlong into a cool, refreshing valley of editor or agent interest, there are seven practical habits you can adopt that will help you reach that faraway gleam in the distance: a book contract.
In the publishing trade, it’s not who you know, it’s how well you write. At the same time, the industry is still small enough that relationships are crucially important. The person whose shoes you criticize in the restroom line at a writers’ conference may be your dream editor—and she’s got a long memory.
Shelley Bates holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of California and an M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She sold her master's thesis to a major commercial publisher after she graduated in 2002, and has sold 17 more novels for the romance, women’s fiction, and young adult markets since then. Grounds to Believe, her first women’s fiction novel, won the 2005 RITA Award for Best Inspirational Novel of the Year from the Romance Writers of America. The sequel, Pocketful of Pearls, became a RITA Award finalist the following year. Writing as Shelley Adina, she has a six-book series called All About Us for teenage readers. Between books, Shelley enjoys playing the piano and Celtic harp, making historical costumes, and trying not to satisfy the urge to possess just one more handbag.