8. Spend the money you need to spend.
Getting published depends on a lot of things. Persistence, patience, and a thick skin help. The primary thing is attention to detail. I’m terrible at this. I am sloppy. I miss commas, misspell names, and am generally a hazard to the navigation of the English language. I should have been doomed to obscurity.
I cheated. I bought a copy of MS Office, which uses the format that almost every agent and publisher requires. I subscribed to Grammarly, a grammar-checking extension. I rent an office, so I have time and privacy to write. I’m getting a website to promote my book. I paid to have a professional looking book cover.
All of these things cost money, and it’s not insignificant. I work on a submarine, which is the best job in the world, but I work for a nonprofit. Fortunately, I live with a frugal and sensible woman who supports my literary pretensions.
I have a lot of computers lying around because of my old gaming hobby, so I was lucky there. Otherwise, I would have had to buy one.
I could have hired a professional editor to increase my chances of getting published, but I passed on that. Fees run into the hundreds of dollars, and I had to draw a line somewhere. If I were a bit more prosperous, I would have done it. I am fortunate that I knew a fantastic editor. New Persia would have been a very different, and less interesting, book if not for her.
Writing costs money, both to do and in opportunity cost. I could be doing something that pays better.
Many people can get published without spending as much as I did. My hat is off to them. My advice, though, is to understand that you need to spend money to compete in the publishing environment.