Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Writers' Wednesday: How To Take the First Steps Toward Publication

Welcome to Writers' Wednesday!

(No new word on the kitty front, by the way. Should find out more later this AM)

A few days ago, a friend of mine emailed to ask me how one goes about getting published. She'd written a few novels, see, and wanted to see if she could publish them. Considering I've spent the better part of the last 5 years learning about the craft of writing and the business of publishing, it was hard to articulate in just a few sentences where she should start.

But then I thought, well, other people will probably ask the same question at some point, when they find out I'm a writer.

So I thought I'd share my top 5 places to start learning about writing and publishing for aspiring writers. All but one is an Internet resource, because I think the online world is rich with information. Plus it's fairly accessible for most people. Here you go. Feel free to disagree or add your own!

1. Writers Village University - I would strongly suggest taking a class or two on the craft of writing. Even if you have a degree in English or Communications or something related, creative/fiction writing is much different. This online "university" offers both classes and study groups where you can post your lessons and assignments. I cannot over-emphasize how helpful WVU has been to me in my pursuit of publication.

2. Absolute Write - Another hugely helpful onlne forum, with groups devoted to everything from the craft of writing (genre by genre) to promotional ideas to ways of dealing with frustration and rejection. AW has a huge membership that is more than willing to share ideas and advice with newbies. Plus it's free!

3. Agentquery - At some point, most aspiring writers will want to query literary agents for representation (only because it's increasingly difficult to sell your project to a publishing house without an agent). This site allows you to search by genre or keyword. Most listings give you pretty good information as far as what the agent's looking for, how to query, etc. Another couple of helpful agenting sites: Kristin Nelson's blog and Jessica Faust's blog. Both agents discuss with candor what authors need to know to compete in the publishing world.

4. Preditors and Editors - Unfortunately, there are many people/sites/companies out there that market themselves as successful agents or publishers, when in fact they aren't. This site can help you search by name and see if anything negative has been reported about a particular agent or publisher. (Piers Anthony is another good resource for this kind of search, though he does electronic publishers only)

5. Writers' Market - This is the only resource that isn't an online one. I would really suggest getting a copy of this guide. Published annually, it gives very specific information about a variety of publishers, agents, and markets for writers in all genres. Also usually includes some articles by established writers on various aspects of writing and approaching different markets.

That's really just a start, but I hope it gives new writers (or even seasoned ones) a place to explore. The best thing you can do? Research! And don't think you'll find out everything you need to know's a long process for most of us!


Alice Teh said...

Thanks, Allie! I've also linked your post in my blog. Really appreciate your sharing.

I might try something at Writers Village University. I've checked it out sometime earlier when you first mentioned it.

Happy Wednesday!

ollie1976 said...

Great links-thanks for sharing them with us.
Hope everything is better with your cat.

Marianne Arkins said...

BTW, you can access Writer's Market online. I do -- I buy an annual membership, and love that I get all the updates that a print book won't have until the following year.

Hope any kitty news was positive!

Regan said...

Great links, thanks!