The question I’m most often asked is: Can you help me to get published? If you mean can I connect you with specific publishers, editors or agents to help you get published, my answer is no. But I can give you five quick tips that might help.
1, Do you need an agent? The short answer is it depends.
Whether or not you need an agent depends on what you are trying to sell to a publisher. If you hope to publish your work with a well-known trade book publisher (The “Big 5” in the U.S. are Hachette Book Group, Harper-Collins, Macmillan, Penguin/Random House, Simon & Schuster) then you definitely need an agent; but, if you are aiming for a small or niche publisher, you might not need one.
Most publishers post guidelines for submissions on their web pages. If a publisher does not accept unsolicited manuscripts, you may only approach them through an agent. WritersMarket.com is the best tool for finding publishers and their guidelines. (Subscribe online for $5.99/month and cancel any time.)
2. Fiction and nonfiction have different paths to publication.
An agent will often want to see a complete manuscript for a work of fiction or a memoir, but for most nonfiction works, a book proposal will be enough. Before you pitch either to an agent, make sure that you are submitting your best work. If you aren’t familiar with writing a solid, convincing book proposal, then learn to write one before you approach an agent. I can’t stress enough how important this is!
Research agents to find which accept the kind of work you are submitting. A good place to start is PublishersMarketplace.com. (Subscription: $25/month, no long-term commitment.)
3. Be meticulous when preparing your submission.
* what you are submitting,
* the publisher’s guidelines
* and an agent’s requirements,
you might be asked for any of the following: a query letter, a book proposal, a synopsis and sample chapters. Again—if you aren’t proficient in writing a query letter, proposal and synopsis, learn to do so! These items are KEY to getting your book published.
4. Self-publishing is an option.
Online services exist that make it relatively easy and inexpensive for authors to self-publish their books and make them available as e-books and also paperbacks. Some of the more popular services are Amazon KDP, Pronoun, Draft2Digital, and CreateSpace.
Self-publishing allows you to make all the decisions. You are not only the author, but also your editor and marketing manager.
5. Getting published takes work—long, hard work! My most important tip is DO YOUR RESEARCH. Don’t rush. Plan your path to publication.
In my opinion, one of the best starting points for researching how to get published is Jane Friedman’s blog. (I often repost her articles on my Facebook author page.) Jane’s site is a goldmine of detailed information. I suggest making it your starting point. Go there, and spend time reading and learning about the business of publishing.
Are you on Facebook? Check out my page where I post daily articles
and inspiration for writers.
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