“Great. I have my query drafted and ready to send out. Where do I find publishers and literary agents to submit it to?”
Here is where I date myself. When I first became interested in writing years ago, the Bible of the publishing industry was The Writer’s Market. Without the latest edition on your desk, your chances of getting published were slim. However, relying on The Writer’s Market
today is about as antiquated as drafting your manuscript on an electric
typewriter. The publishing industry now has an increasing number of
small presses and a rapidly expanding market for presses who deal solely
or primarily in electronic media, and these publishers open (and
sometimes close) at a mind-boggling rate. The good news is that keeping
track of who’s who in the market has never been easier.
use five methods to keep track of the market. More are available, but
these are the ones I primarily rely on. Use whichever ones work for you
or your genre.
-- Internet-based publishers digests.
There are several out there that encompass all markets and genres, but
my favorite is Duotrope (http://www.duotrope.com/).
Duotrope allows you to narrowly define your search parameters to
provide listings based on genre, type of publication (book or magazine,
print or electronic), length of work, submission guidelines, and other
criteria. Each listing also contains a link to that publisher’s
homepage. One feature about this service I particularly like is that you
can sign up for Duotrope’s weekly e-mail update which lists markets
that are open to submission, updates those markets that are dead or
recently closed to submissions, and provides a list of upcoming
anthologies by theme. In my opinion, this is one of the best tools for
writers currently out there. Several of my works were eventually placed
with publishers I discovered on Duotrope.
journals and genre magazines. These are invaluable, especially the
former. I don’t know what’s available for other genres, but for horror I
rely on Realms of Fantasy as my trade journal and Fangoria and Rue Morgue
as my primary genre magazines. Their value is in that they provide
information on what is being published in your genre and who is
publishing it. I use Realms of Fantasy to keep track of trends in
the industry and use the book review sections of the genre magazines to
obtain leads on publishers who work in my genre.
Conventions. Though less readily available then the first two, writers
and genre conventions are among your most valuable resource. Publishers
use these conventions to seek out new talent, so they are most receptive
to hear what you have to offer. Practice your verbal pitch. You want to
have a pitch that hooks a publisher in the first few sentences, but
doesn’t sound over rehearsed. And be prepared in case the publisher
starts asking detailed questions about your work or you. I have seen a
lot of authors nail that opening pitch and get all tongue-tied during
the follow-up talks. Remember, nobody knows you and your book better
than you do. And if you find a publisher who wants to see more of your
work, contact him/her the moment you get home, reminding him/her in your
cover letter that you just met at the convention and you are sending
along the material he/she asked you to.
-- Your local
bookstore. You can find a wealth of information here by perusing your
genre section. Check out new arrivals to see which houses have published
books similar to yours, and use that as a starting point for your
research. Also remember to check out the acknowledgement page, for you
often get the names of editors to contact as well as literary agents.
Forums and Yahoo groups. These can be extremely helpful if you join the
correct ones. You want to find ones populated by aspiring and/or new
authors who are serious about their craft. Publishers and editors often
cruise these sites searching for new talent, and if they are impressed
with you they may contact you offline and ask you to submit. I have also
seen some forums/groups where publishers are actively seeking out
authors. You should be able to find these forums/groups by researching
in your genre. (These forums/groups are also invaluable in helping you
market your book, which I will discuss in the next blog posting.)
right, ladies and gentlemen. For those of you who have been reading
this blog series from the beginning, you have enough tools available to
write your novel. You’ve abandoned family and friends to make the time
to write and have spent the last year drafting and editing and revising
and re-editing and re-revising your book. You’ve sent out an endless
stream of query letters, suffered through the flood of rejections
letters (or worse, the annoying lack of responses from publishers you’ve
queried) but have prevailed and finally found someone to publish your
work. Congratulations! Now the hard part begins.
NEXT BLOG: Marketing your book and yourself.