For anyone who is serious about getting published via traditional means or self-publishing, here are the links I recommend. If you think you might want to try this in the future, check these out now.
Our story thus far : unless you are a wildly successful author, submitting an unsolicited manuscript directly to a publisher will get you nowhere. What you want to do is submit a query letter to an agent, who will then represent you to publishers.
That means figuring out (a) how to write a good query and (b) knowing who all the good agents are. The below sites should help get you started:
http://agentquery.com – Lots of good information and explanations on this site. You’ll want to read all of the articles at the upper left under the caption WRITERS. Any agents worth contacting are going to be listed on this site, and you can search by genre, &c. A good starting place to understand the basics of the publishing industry.
http://pred-ed.com/ – Preditors and Editors lists all kinds of entities related to publishing, with some information on each one. Including “Recommended” or “Not Recommended,” indications worth noting. They have more advice on sending queries.
http://evileditor.blogspot.com/ – Both amusing and informative, this site will teach you what to strive for in writing a query. (also, what NOT to strive for). I would even say that it’s a good study in what works or doesn’t in concept for writing a book. Did I mention that it’s often hilarious?
https://www.publishersmarketplace.com/ When you get REALLY serious, I’ve heard this site is worth the $25/month subscription.
http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/ – if you’re looking for a good way to procrastinate, these are also hilarious. The goal is to write the worst possible opening line to a story. If you find your own opening line as one of the winners, you may wish to consider some revisions.
The following are the five biggest publishers in the U.S. The top one on the list (Penguin/Random House) is bigger than the next four combined.
- Penguin/Random House (We think they should have called themselves Random Penguin)
- Harper Collins
- Simon & Schuster
If you would rather “self-publish” than go the corporate route, please be sure you understand the difference between a Vanity Publisher (who will rip you off) and a legitimate Self-Publishing house. Articles discussing these differences can be found here and here
Legitimate Self-Publishing companies include:
https://www.createspace.com/ (note: if you finish writing 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month, you’ll get a couple of free proof copies from them)
Legitimate E-Publishers include
Self-publishing is fun if you want to have something in your hands right away and share it with friends, but if you’re aiming for wide distribution, you’ll have a lot of extra stuff to do that traditional publishers take care of for you. (e.g. hiring an editor, and cover designer; handling distribution and marketing).