Follow Heinlein’s Rules to publishing your book

Getting published requires a lot of hard work and self-discipline. A long road runs between having an idea for a story and actually seeing it on a bookstore shelf or within a magazine’s covers.

Science fiction great Robert Heinlein said writers only needed to follow five simple steps to ensure they were published authors. These steps since have been coined “Heinlein’s Rules,” Heinlein often joked that he had no qualms about sharing these “secret” steps as most people lacked the self-discipline to actually work through each one.

The rules are:
• Rule One – You Must Write
• Rule Two – Finish What Your Start
• Rule Three – You Must Refrain From Rewriting, Except to Editorial Order
• Rule Four – You Must Put Your Story on the Market
• Rule Five – You Must Keep it on the Market until it has Sold

Hugo winner Robert J. Sawyer once wrote that if you started with a hundred people who wanted to be published, fully half of them would give up on writing at each step. By the time you got through Rule Five, that would leave just three of the original hundred still writing!

The moral is if you want to become published, you must stick it through the entire process. Don’t give up – that, after all, is the quickest way to remain unpublished.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.