Someone asked me on Twitter (@Scribbler_Maxi) this week how you go about getting a book published. They had written a children's book and wanted to know where to go from there.
It was a good question, and one many writers ask at some point, once we've gone through the slog of writing our opus. It used to be a fairly straightforward answer - you apply to every agent who deals with that subject and hope for the best, or words to that effect.
But in today's world where publishing is changing, there are now more choices for authors. I think, deep down (or even not so deep!) we all that acceptance and push from a big publishing house but it's pretty hard to get there. Not that that should ever stop you trying.
However, if you really can't face any more agent letters saying 'Thanks, but no thanks' or even no reply at all, or just don't want to go through all that palaver in the first place, there's now more choice. Ebooks, POD companies like Lulu and even some publishers who put calls out inviting authors to submit their work. These sort of markets are often found in writing magazines like
Freelance Market News (FMN) and Writing Magazine . The latter currently has a free digital trial issue available.
These magazines are invaluable for keeping in touch with what's going on in the publishing world, not to mention inspirational and full of advice. My non fiction book came out from a snippet in one of these, where the publisher had advised he was looking for more books in the series.
The other advice I gave was to get hold of a copy of the Children's Writers' Yearbook. The Internet is great for many things, but I always get a copy of the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook, not only for the lists of agents and publishers but also for the articles published in there. Yes, print books can become out of date even before they've hit the shelves, but these books are a really good basis to start from. Most companies will have a website listed within their listings, so just check on that to make sure the information is up to date. A manuscript addressed to an agent who no longer works there isn't the best first impression.
So, whilst the mainstream publishing route may well have got harder as companies get bought out and all seem to have leanings towards paying obnoxious advances to footballers and contestants on Big Brother for their 'life' stories, at least we no longer have to let the manuscript sit in a drawer gathering dust if we still really believe in it. There are plenty of bad self published books out there, just as there always has been, but there are really great ones now too!
Do you agree? Is the world of publishing better or worse for the more choices available these days?