Hard fact: it is really, REALLY, REALLY difficult for new fiction writers to bring their work to publication in today’s market. I don’t say this to discourage you. Far from it. But you need to be aware of the strong headwinds into which you are sailing before you weigh anchor.
New writers do get published, but their numbers are fewer now than ever before. Print publishing companies are facing unprecedented pressures because of increasing costs and decreasing revenues. The digital book phenomenon has played a big part in this as more people turn to e-books that can be downloaded for a fraction of the cost of a bound book or even for free. Thus the big companies are much less likely to take a risk on a new author’s work.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that writers now have options beyond the traditional publishing powerhouses. We’ll talk about that later. First I’ll lay out some ideas for chasing the brass ring of print publication. I’m going to assume you’re just an average Joe or Josephine who doesn’t have any inside connections to a published author, agent, or publishing house. So where do you begin?
As any salesman will tell you, you begin with a marketing strategy. You decide who to target, how to advertise your product, and how to close the deal. For the writer, the first step is . . . more writing. You need to produce a query letter and synopsis that will be the foundation of your proposal. Then you need to research literary agencies to discover which ones might consider manuscripts like yours. Finally, you begin sending your material out. Many writers also attend conferences where they hope to pitch an agent in person. Either way, your goal is to present a product that irresistible.
Click on the links below to read my suggestions for each of these steps.
Self publishing is another option for new writers. You contract with a subsidy publishing house to put the book in bound form for an agreed-upon fee and then take on all marketing functions yourself. Or you can master the technology to produce the book yourself. Another choice is to go digital. Certain e-book publishers operate just like print publishers in that they choose which manuscripts to publish from among the queries they receive. Others require you to front your own money as described above. Or, again, you can e-publish your own book. If you are interested in this type of publishing, click on the link below for my thoughts and suggestions.