There’s a lot of publishing advice that can help aspiring authors decide whether or not to self-publish or how to find the right agent or publisher, which is great news for aspiring authors. However, sorting through all that information can be overwhelming and new writers who are not already familiar with the industry may have trouble weeding out biased or unsound advice. Here are a few links that can help you round out your knowledge of the publishing world and make the right decisions for your writing career so you don’t lose your head.
You’ll find that Jane Friedman’s name comes up a lot in publishing circles—even in some of the other links on this page—and for good reason. Friedman has two decades worth of experience in the publishing industry, and has taught courses and written books on the business of writing. This article in particular focuses on finding the right agent, but I would strongly suggest that you sign up for Friedman’s newsletter or follow her on social media to take advantage of her wisdom and experience. No matter how you publish, marketing is critical to your success as an author.
For those of us who write in peculiar subgenres (myself included) or whose books and stories are mash-ups of multiple genres, finding an agent or publisher can be especially tricky. Literary agent Mark Gottlieb provides some excellent advice about identifying “hot” genres and selling odd-duck novels, so even if you feel discouraged by the opening paragraphs, please don’t close this Pandora’s Box until you find hope at the bottom.
I know this sounds like another depressing link, but the Lit Rejections website is a bit like lecture notes from The School of Hard Publishing Knocks. If you’re going to seek an agent or publisher, you’re going to get some rejections no matter how good your query letter and sample chapters, but you can learn from other writers’ experiences how to improve your odds of being accepted. The site also offers an extensive list of agencies by country for those who haven’t been scared away from traditional publishing.
Writer’s Digest is one of my favourite go-to websites for publishing. You can access the blog articles for free, but you can also subscribe to their site for a reasonable fee or order their annual tome if you want more detailed advice on publishing trends as well as an updated list of literary agents and agencies.
Best-selling U.K. indie author Nick Spalding has experienced the ups and downs of self-publishing but has signed book deals as well. There’s some harsh reality in here for the pie-eyed dreamers among us, but it’s delivered with a spoonful of sugar to ensure this medicine goes down…and stays down.
Self-publishing is not any easier than traditional publishing, at least not if you intend to do a good job. However, if you’re a new author and don’t know what’s involved in the process or if you’re anxious and impatient to publish, you’ll be likely to rush and make some very regrettable mistakes. The authors, bloggers, marketers, and general publishing experts quoted here each boil down their experiences to the one crucial piece of wisdom that they think will benefit self-published authors the most.
If you decide to self-publish your novel, you are in fact planning to go into business, whether you like the idea or not. You’re taking on all the risks for the hope of a reward, so you’d be wise to read up on the various aspects of publishing that you’ll need to deal with, from writing and editing your book to cover design and marketing to potential legal issues. What you don’t know really can hurt you, so be sure to do your research. These blogs will help you navigate the choppy waters and narrow channels of the publishing world.