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Do you have visions of booksignings, devoted fans, or a guest spot on Oprah? It can happen, if you take the right steps! Contrary to popular myth, you don't have to have an agent, or connections in the industry, to get published.
What you do need to know is how to present your work in the most professional manner possible. While the steps below won't guarantee that your book will be published, failing to take them will virtually guarantee that it won't!
These are the basics every editor expects you to know before your manuscript hits his or her desk. If you haven't written your book yet, this isn't the time to ask how to get it published. Editors are interested in products, not ideas. If you're a new writer, editors want to be sure that you have what it takes -- skill, stamina, and discipline -- to complete a full-length book.
What is your book about? Who is the intended readership? These are questions an editor will ask; being able to answer them will help you choose an appropriate publisher.
If your book is a novel, to what genre or category does it belong? Beware of books that "defy" genre categorizations--the "I'm writing a sort of romantic-science fiction-mystery combining elements of Stephen King and Danielle Steele" syndrome. This tells editors that you either haven't refined your concept, or don't understand the book market.
Absolutely the worst thing you can do is "cold-call" publishers to ask if they might be interested in your book. Instead, find out who produces books like yours. Browse your local bookstore, and make a list of publishers who offer books in your category.
If you're writing a children's book, for example, note who publishes books for the same age group or of the same type e. Look up promising publishers in the current Writer's Market or Literary Market Place in the library reference section.
There, you'll find the publisher's address and the editor to contact. Specialized market books are also available for poetry, novels and short stories, children's books, romances, mysteries, and science fiction.
Writer's Market also tells you what a publishing company is buying, its rates, and how to approach the editor. Some accept unsolicited manuscripts; others only accept books from agents. If you need more information, write or call the publisher to request writer's guidelines.
These days, editors won't even look at a manuscript that isn't prepared professionally. Print or type your manuscript on high-quality white bond paper.
Never use erasable paper, and don't use a dot-matrix printer. If that's all you have, take your disk to a copy center that offers the use of a laser printer.
Double-space your manuscript and leave a 1-inch margin on all sides.Michael Bourne is a staff writer for The Millions and a contributing editor for Poets & Writers Magazine.
His nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Salon, and The Economist. His fiction has appeared in Tin House, December, The Southampton Review, and The Cortland Review.
Founded by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that actively advances the work of independent storytellers in film and theatre.
Agents and Managers mostly do not accept unsolicited queries and will usually either trash a script sent to them that has not been requested or just send it back. For advice on the most professional way to approach an agent or manager for representation for your .
Note: The following is a guest post from Stephanie Stokes Oliver, an author, editor, and scout for Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books. For more information on Stephanie’s scouting guidelines, see pfmlures.com can find her online at pfmlures.com.
Cheers! Wonderful info, Chip! Thanks 🙂 This bit woke me up “if your script is a little indie film that’s being shot on weekends for 50K, figure $ The Hollywood Reporter is your source for breaking news about Hollywood and entertainment, including movies, TV, reviews and industry blogs.