How to Get Published – Advice from a Book Brick

Writers and Artists YearbookThis year I have written a book. It happened kind of by accident, and then it occurred to me that I ought to get it published, or publish it myself. I began to research publishers online, and found the perfect one, only to discover that they won’t accept direct submissions. I would need a literary agent. But I know almost nothing about literary agents! Where do you find a literary agent? In the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, of course…   

Something which I had never actually read, despite having been an aspiring writer for most of my life. I searched, discovered it to be in the local library, borrowed it, took it home and opened it up… only to discover, several hours later, that I was still engrossed in what is nothing less than a treasure trove of inspiration, advice and encouragement, as well as the expected listings and contacts.

Just to clarify – I had never actually sought out this writers’ reference ‘bible’ because I was under the impression that it was nothing more than a sort of glorified yellow pages, defunct in the modern digital age, and containing no more than listings and contact details for those who already had a manuscript ready to send out.

It is far more than that. I admit my mistake and humbly attempt to provide a mere glimpse into the wondrous interior of this big red brick of a book…

Useful Articles from Publishers and Writers

There are articles covering almost every genre and theme, from How to write a ‘How to’ book, to advice on scriptwriting, travel writing, romance, sci-fi, reviews, poetry and everything in between. They are brief, but concise and insightful, shedding light in all sorts of areas and providing links to websites and other books for further reading.

Unique Insights

If you’ve ever wondered what a literary agent actually does, or how the editor of the Guardian decides which books should be reviewed, then this is the place to find out. It’s packed full of testimonials from people in interesting positions.

Advice on Self-Publishing and Freelance Work

As it happens, I am now considering self-publishing my book, and am impressed and pleasantly surprised to discover a wealth of useful self-publishing information between these pages. Not only are there some quite encouraging reports from successfully self-published writers in various genres, but there’s also information about copyright, ISBN numbers and legal stuff, as well as advice on marketing and promotion, freelancing and finance.

Listings and Contact Details

And it is also full of listings, but not just publishers and agents. There are blogs and websites, societies and writing courses, competitions and magazines, and something for every genre – even those you’ve never thought about before.

Borrowing is the new Buying

I can certainly see the attraction of owning a copy yourself. But it isn’t cheap and, if your local library has one, and it’s not ‘reference only’, you should be able to keep it for a few weeks at home, siphon off the essential details, and then borrow it again if needed in future.

What I like most about it is…

  • Every time I look up an article and start flicking through to find it, I get distracted by something else really interesting and end up reading that instead.
  • It’s concise and simple. No long essays. No waffle. This is aimed not only at professional published writers, but also at the novice, the multi-tasking, full-time working writer with a day job and not much time to spare.

And as for that book I wrote… you’ll have to wait and see.

NB. The 2018 edition of the book is already out – you can buy it here.

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