As an author, I LOVE helping fellow writers. In fact, I encourage writers to message me whenever they want with whatever questions they have. But don’t forget, folks.
Google is your best friend.
Recently, maybe due to NaNoWriMo, I’ve received A LOT more messages than usual. The most common one: “How can I get my book published?”
When I search “How can I get my book published?” on Google, the first three articles are actually pretty legit. One is about how to self-publish on Amazon. Another is a list of self-publishing tips by Forbes Magazine. The third is a step-by-step guide on how to get traditionally published. (No results were vanity presses, yay!) My favorite article that popped up toward the top was Start Here: How to Get Your Book Published by Jane Friedman.
If the writers who had emailed me had Googled their question first, they would’ve had these amazing articles at their fingertips…and as much as I wish I could deliver long, thoughtful pieces every time someone messaged me, I simply don’t have the time. I will ALWAYS try to point you in the right direction, but honestly, Google is often better.
Don’t get wrong, though. I get it. I do. Publishing is hard. And there is so much information out there that it can be overwhelming/contradictory/seemingly impossible to navigate on your own. But guess what?
Learning how to navigate your publishing journey is going to be key to your success.
Why do I say that? Because I’ve been there. Publishing has confused the hell out of me, too. And I still have days where I get confused, because aspects of publishing constantly change. Knowing how to research and determine what is true/false/helpful/scam is going to save you a lot of time and pain. Asking others might not always work, because others also fall for false information and scams, so you need to be able to sift through information to form your own opinions. But don’t worry. You don’t have to navigate everything alone.
No one can get a book published by themselves. It takes a team to get a book from an idea to a draft to an editor’s pick to a novel on a shelf. There’s beta readers, proofreaders, sensitivity readers, reviewers, and more that will help you get from step one to step infinity. So you will need writer friends. You will even need their help. But before you message an author/editor/publisher, try to answer the question yourself. Why? Because you’ll probably find the answer to “How do I get my book published?” but then come across publishers that—no matter how much you research—you’re still unsure about. THAT is the perfect time to message a fellow writer (preferably a writer who is associated with said publisher) and ask them if they recommend that house.
If you are reaching out, specifics are a lot easier to answer. “Would you recommend this publisher?” is easier for me to give my opinion on than when I’m asked “What type of publishing should I go for?” A lot of questions I’m asked are, quite frankly, not answerable by anyone other than that writer. Choosing how to publish is a very personal choice. I can’t make that decision for you, no matter how much I want to help.
Show initiative in your pursuit of publication. Be brave. Research. But don’t read this article and think you can never reach out ever again.
If you were about to message me about how to publish, I won’t bite your head off. (Maybe just your fingers.) And I’ll still try to point you in the right direction—though there are lots of directions to consider.
Here are some of my favorite resources for writers.
Writer’s Digest: The go-to online resource for writers. If you’re starting out, set a goal to read a couple articles once a week.
Publishers Marketplace: This lists current sales and other important publishing news. Some pages on this website cost money, so if you can’t afford it, sign up for Publisher’s Lunch, which is free.
Janet Reid: She blogs every day about various topics and creates an amazing community of writers to rally behind. I still read her blog every day. It’s how I start my morning.
Pub Rants: A blog by Nelson Literary Agency. One of my all-time favorites. Her Agenting 101 class caught my eye in 2006, and I’ve been following it ever since.
BookEnds Literary Blog: Another blog from a literary agency. They talk about lots of topics as well, but mainly about getting agents and the publishing process afterward.
Query Shark: For learning how to query.
Query Tracker: For keeping track of querying. (This website is free, but you can also pay $25 per year to look at extra information.)
An Alliance of Young Adult Authors: Lots of helpful tips from fellow YA writers, whether you’re self-publishing or going traditional.
Oh! And right here. I try to blog about various writing and publishing topics every single Saturday. Use the search bar at the top of this page to look up topics I’ve discussed in the past. (Because, trust me, I’ve been blogging since 2012, I’ve probably covered it.)
If you have a topic you want to see me blog about, I always take suggestions. I’ll even blog about a topic I’ve discussed before if the article is outdated and/or not detailed enough. (And, yes, you can send the suggestion via email.)
But while you’re online, I suggest opening Google and becoming best friends again.
I think you’ll love the friendship more than you know.