Saturday, April 16, 2011

How to Get Published

Now that I'm immersed in blogging and tweeting and chatting with authors on inkpop and all that stuff that authors do, it's hard to remember a time when I didn't know any of this. Just five years ago, I had no idea how to get published. It almost seems laughable now, but I didn’t know what an agent was, or how to query, or what an ARC was, or pretty much anything about publishing. The thing is, all this information is hidden away on book blogs or in sneaky places on publisher’s websites. 12-year-old me was absolutely clueless.

I remember asking my mom how to get published and she went and asked on a Yahoo group. I excitedly waited for their answers, but when the responses came in, they were all the same: ‘It’s hard.’

That was all. There was no information about how to get published (other than the suggestion that I should try to get short stories published in magazines first). They only told me it was hard.

True. Getting published is hard. It’s been five years since I decided I wanted to get published, and I’m just as un-published as I ever was. The only thing that’s changed is that now I do know how to get published. Now, this information I’m going to share is fairly basic so most of you will already know it all, but in each case I’ll share a couple links to helpful websites so you can go farther than just my blogposts.

Step to getting published:
1.       Write a REALLY good story
2.       Get feedback
3.    Revisions
4.       Query Agents
5.       The Agent sells your book

For the next three weeks I’ll concentrate on steps 2-5. As for step one… I’ll spend a little bit more time on that. According to the poll in the sidebar, writing tips were the favourite kind of post on this blog, so they’ll be a lot more of those coming up. Any post on writing is going to have something to do with step one: Write a REALLY good story. That can’t be emphasized enough. Without a good story, you’ll never receive helpful feedback. No matter how good your query, you’ll never get an agent. Even supposing you got an agent, it won’t sell to publishers.

For next week, let’s assume you’ve already got a fairly good story. Then you need to get your story out there, and be willing to accept feedback. 


  1. It's not always about the story. It's about what will sell. There are REALLY great (not just good) stories that will never get picked up, or that will take forever to get picked up, because of the market. And there are stories with just okay writing and an okay plot, but yet the story is exactly what the market is asking for. Publishers want what will sell, not necessarily just REALLY good books.

    And the agent doesn't always sell the book. You could get an agent and never get published, or you can get an agent with one book, but then another one of your manuscripts gets published. And don't forget the revision stages in between 2 and 3. :)

    Great post! :)

  2. Very true, Evie. I've been having issues with the whole 'marketability' thing, b/c I really like my story WANDER, but I'm pretty sure it'll never get published b/c of religious issues and the character's ages. I still believe in the story and I feel bad for giving up, but I don't think it has a chance.

    Did I seriously forget revisions? ooops... Well, I'll talk about that under feedback. Actually, dealing with feedback probably involves its own post. So I'll add one about revisions. I can't believe I forgot that...
    And yes, I'm going to talk about how agents aren't necessarily able to always sell your book, but might sell a different one (like with Kiersten White and Paranormalcy)

  3. I agree with Evie. Alot of crappy mainstream books get picked because they'll sell. Thought I've been looking around for agents, and alot of them have started saying, "NO VAMPIRES." xDD

  4. Could you offer some information on how to publish short stories too? I've been going on Google and searching for the past week if I could enter writing competitions or anything like that, but it's hard trying to find stuff. If you find any good websites to submit short stories (or poetry) to for competitions or something, could you please post it?

  5. Qui- I noticed that too! I'm so happy... I was getting really tired of vampire books everywhere, but now it seems like Angels and Demons are taking over, which is just as annoying, I think.

    Hana: I'll definitely look into that. I've been thinking of trying to get 'Because You Laughed' published, so I've been searching, too. Great idea for a post!

  6. There are agents out there that specifically take Christian themed books, as well as publishers. Christian themed stories have become more popular in YA of late.

    I think also it;s good to add that finding an agent can take YEARS and more than 100 queries. And you might not make it on your first book either. Keep writing and keep querying.

    Short stories are a good way to build a resume. Agents are impressed as long as it's with reputable publishers/journals.

  7. Okay, thanks! =)Lately, I've started writing more short stories, since I can actually finish them because they're, well, short.