Monday, June 28, 2010

How to Get Published

So I’ve started working on a FAQ to include on my website. One of the most commonly asked questions authors get is, “So how do you get published?” And the answer is a little too long to include in the FAQ. So I’m answering it in detail, here on the blog, spread over five days.

(Note: there are many ways to get published, but I’m focusing on the way I did it. The traditional ‘write a book, get an agent, get a book deal’ way. Even though it took me 10,000 years, that’s how I did it.)

Step one in getting published: write a book. Seems obvious, but I’m serious. Don’t worry about agents or publishers unless you have a completed novel. According to my made up statistics, a gazillion people say they want to write a novel. Out of this gazillion, only 1% will turn the TV off, stop talking about writing a novel and actually start it. And out of that group, only a small percentage will actually finish a novel. So before you start worrying about query letters and book signings, see if you’re in that small percentage who can even finish a book. (I was guilty of this myself for a long time. My recommendation for a cure? BIC. The well-known, well-loved butt in chair method. It works.)

You’ve finished your book? Awesome. Reach around and pat yourself on the back because that is a huge accomplishment! Even if nothing else comes from this, even if it never gets published, you have finished a novel-length manuscript. That. Is. Awesome. Go out to dinner and celebrate.

Now, set the book aside for a week or two. Don’t even think about it during that time. Then return to it, fresh and ready to edit. Send it to trusted, honest, knowledgeable critique partners. Then revise and edit again. Lather, rinse, repeat. When you think it’s in the best shape you can get it in, it’s time to get an agent.

How do you get an agent? For that, you’ll have to come back tomorrow!


  1. And then there is the case when it’s in the best shape and then you find one tiny error beginning the lather, rinse, cry & edit phase all over again. Some days I just want to be done editing so I take a day or two off to refresh.

  2. Oh so very true. :)

  3. Even though it took me 10,000 years, that’s how I did it.

    HEE! I luv u.

  4. but how do we know which editors are trust worthy?