How to Get Published
all let me state categorically: unless you're
deliberately self publishing and are in control of the
whole process, never pay to get published.
There are a
lot of so called 'publishers' on the Net that pretend to
be bona fide, will get you to sign an exclusive contract
and then ask you for money to publish your book or
provide some other service. This is usually a scam in action.
really is only one way to get published and that is to
submit, submit, submit.
secret, there's no magic formula and there are certainly
no guarantees but that's the heart of it - submitting
your work to publishers and agents is still the best and
most effective way of achieving publishing success.
You need to
do it right of course. You need to look up suitable
publishers and agents in Writers Yearbooks (buy them or
consult them at your local library) or find their
websites on the Net.
and I mean really study, their guidelines and follow them
to the letter. Don't think that it doesn't matter if
you're slightly outside the guidelines - it does. You're
wasting postage and everybody's time if you submit
outside the guidelines.
sure you are about to contact exactly the right person,
or organization, mail out your work. Yes, mail it, with
your work is formatted correctly - double spaced on one
side of Quarto or A4 white paper, plenty of margin on the
sides - say an inch and a half or 5cms. Number the pages
in the top right hand corner along with the MS title and
your name on every page.
the manuscript and don't use any staples or paper clips.
Use a title
page that has all your contact details and what rights
you are offering, whether it be North American Serial
Rights for articles in the US for instance. If in doubt
just put 'Submitted for your consideration', something
like that - it's not important.
brief letter explaining what the MS is about, a little
about you and why you're the best person to have written
the MS and perhaps a line as to why you think the
publisher/editor/agent should or might be interested in
non-fiction book proposals, again follow the guidelines
how it's done. It's what 99% of all successful writers
have done before you and will continue to do until
technology takes over and submitting via email becomes
more prevalent - even then the format should stay the
publishers don't want email submissions for mainly legal
reasons. They're worried that if a rejected writer can
prove his or her MS was on their computers before the
time they release a similar book, the writer might be
able to sue for plagiarism - and win. As long as they
only have paper versions lying around they can simply
say, 'We never read it.'
get too hung up on the legal side. You don't need to
copyright your work - your copyright is enshrined in law
the moment your words are on the page.
certainly don't need to register your work with Congress
or anything silly like that. Don't rush out and buy an
ISBN - that's the publisher's job.
especially paranoid you might want to send yourself a
copy of your work by registered mail - and keep it
unopened pending your day in court. Otherwise, just
relax. You're more likely to get hit on the head by a
coconut than be plagiarized by anyone with enough money
you've probably heard me bang on about this before but it
really is important. It's become part of the process of
getting published for most serious, career writers. Don't
automatically think that it's not for you.
send out your work, you should be aware of its strengths
and weaknesses. You should have it professionally
assessed at least once and act on any recommendations.
are swamped and don't nurture talent like they used to.
They certainly don't like reading MSS that need work.
given the competition, you really can't afford to send
out anything but your best work and besides, publishers
are far more likely to be interested in a MS that has
been through this process. Give it careful consideration.
noticed over the years that networking can definitely
help the writer's career. Join writer's groups on and off
the Net. Go to writing events and foster relationships
with other writers - it all helps.
you are fortunate enough to meet publishers and agents,
remember, they're normal people, just like me and you.
Don't treat them like gods or scum - just be nice, be
yourself. And don't pitch ideas to people who aren't
interested. There's no point.
occasionally you might come across a bona fide publisher
that will want money to 'co-publish' with you. Research
them thoroughly and don't over-commit yourself. It might
work out but remember that if the publisher needs your
money to get your book out there, he's obviously not
making enough money to do it himself.
where you pay a 'publisher' to design and manufacture
your book - they usually assume no editorial control and
have little interest in your work. They just do it for
the money - and it's usually expensive.
up to you to sell your books. If you don't, you'll end up
having to store them or pay, yes pay, to have the same
publisher destroy them. Not good.
By far the
best way to self publish is via Print on Demand.
Technology has enabled POD printers to produce one book
at a time quite cheaply. The most expensive part of the
process is designing the artwork for the cover. After
that a reputable POD printer can usually knock up a copy
of your book for you in a matter of days.
you then have to think of ways of selling your book
(because, in effect, you then become its publisher) but,
if you're desperate to see your work in print, want leave
a few copies of your book to your grandchildren, or you
think it's a good career move, POD is definitely worth
think you have a commercial enough book with no takers in
the real world, you can always create a PDF version and
try to sell it on the Net. It's a process that can be
time consuming - marketing is fairly labor intensive for
instance - but can yield rewards over time.
I could go
into much greater detail in all these options - and have
done elsewhere - but I wanted you to get an overview
before you venture out there.
luck on your quest for publication!
Your Success is My Concern
The Easy Way to
THIS WEEK'S WRITER'S QUOTE:
"The harder you work,
the luckier you get."
Previous Newsletter includes:
Article: "How Does Your Writing Grow?"
Writer's Quote by Barbara Kingsolver
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