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February 2020 by Kathleen Brunelle

The Path to Publication

Once you’ve written your book, there are numerous paths to publication. If you wish to follow the traditional path, here are five tips to get you started:

  1. Read other books in the same genre: If you read successful books in your genre, you’ll be able to get a pulse on the current market and measure your book’s potential. By reading other writers, you’ll glean essential information concerning format, formula, and style. While it’s important to read current bestsellers, don’t forget about the classics.  If you want to write true crime, read In Cold Blood. Truman Capote inspired the true crime genre. Reading his book will not only provide you with a classic example of how to narrate actual events, but it will also provide you with inspiration to edit your own. If you are a mystery writer, read Agatha Christie. Her books are only outsold by Shakespeare and The Bible. The Queen of Mystery will surely set you on the right path to publication.
  2. Don’t forget about the acknowledgements page: Go to your local bookstore and browse titles similar to your own. Flip to the final section of these books for the author acknowledgements. Authors recognize the people and professionals who helped them on their publishing journey. Pay particular attention to the name of the literary agent. Make a list of these agents to query with your book idea.
  3. Purchase a guide: While you’re at the bookstore, pick up the latest copy of The Writers’ Market — an indispensable resource for all aspiring writers. I’ve been using The Writer’s Market since I was a teenager, and I never would have been able to start my writing career without it! If you can’t afford it (the latest edition runs about $20 to $30 depending on where you buy it), go to your local library reference section where you’ll be sure to access a copy. The Writer’s Market contains specifics on what editors and agents want in an easy-to-use format. Whether you are publishing a book, an article, or a blog, this publication will guide you in the right direction. If you want to focus solely on agents, purchase Guide to Literary Agents, which is also an annual publication. I’ve used this resource with great success. You can search agents by the genres they represent and then learn more detailed information concerning their acquisitions.
  4. Pick up a magazine: There are great magazines out there for writers. Publications like Writer’s Digest, Poets & Writers, and The Writer feature inspirational articles on published writers, interviews with editors and agents, information concerning contests and grants, etc. to help you on your journey to publication.
  5. Attend a conference: In most magazines, you’ll find information on writing conferences in your area. You can also look online to find these conferences. These events bring publishers, editors, agents, and writers together to discuss craft and make connections. You can pitch your book / idea to agents and meet other writers and professionals in the field. The connections you make at these events are well worth the admission price.

I hope these tips are helpful! Good luck on your path to publication!