Essay from Chimezie Ihekuna

Chimezie Ihekuna (Mr. Ben) Young Black man in a collared shirt and jeans resting his head on his hand. He's standing outside a building under an overhang.
Chimezie Ihekuna
How to be a Published Author

If you want to be a self published author, do not read this. But if you want to earn a traditional publication, please read below

You have taken your time to write that thought. You sacrificed a lot-time, energy and money-to ensure you complete that literary task. You were led to put pen on paper those great train thoughts. Finally, you completed the literary task! Congratulations!

Next, you possibly  seek other pairs of eyes to review and possibly proofread the piece you have written. Perhaps, you sought the attention  of your best friend, family member or associate to read through, point out the typos and grammatical errors. Eventually, you have the task of proofreading met.

The stage is now set...pitching to 'appropriate' agents and publishers. Having read through their guidelines, you pitch them individually. Some publishers and literary agencies would disclose the timeframe. In other words, some will disclose to you the turnaround period: feedback time. Interestingly, others might to assert to you when you will get to know the status of your submission.

In the literary world, there is a saying: 'it is all man for himself'. You are all alone to exercise the waiting game. It becomes herculean to wait for that period of time. Patience is needed to cope with the demanding literary industry. As a smart author, you should be looking at working on your next title.

The wait is over...the feedback is about to be given, primarily via email or postmail. 'Dear john, thanks for your submission. We have read your submission with great interest. While we find your piece very fascinating, we regret to announce to you we cannot take your submission at this time. We wish you the best in your writing endeavor..' You feel depressed, afterwards.

Never mind! Your literary journey has just started! It is at this point you dwell on the 'never give up' pysche if you want to proceed at this point. It is at this point you begin to do a research on publishers and agents who specialize on your genre online, horn your skills, attend several writing conferences, book fairs and other literary events to meet with people, get connections and establish relationships (mentorship).Then, by listening to and reading the stories of authors who made it, you will understand rejection is part of your literary journey. 

Luckily, you get a literary recognition, be it a publisher or an agent who would be willing to take on your submission. Congratulations! The wait is worth it. The contract is presented to you for perusal, after receiving a Letter of Intent. You are satisfied with the terms of the contract through the 'green light' of an Intellectual Property Attorney, you sign the contract. Your piece now has a literary home!

It takes time to become successful. A personal instance: I started writing in 2006. Having faced several rejections from publishers and agents for years, it took me eight years to publish my first book! During those waiting periods, I was writing other books, attending book fairs, getting to meet authors like me and researching online authors who made it: what they went through.

Being a published author is not an easy feat. It takes patience, resilience, persistence, connection (and some element of luck) to become that person whose name would be penned in print, electronic, audio and other formats. 

Remember this: Discouragement is a part of success!