- Step 1: Research and query Research literary, scholastic, magazine, poetry, and online publishers and agents in the United States and Canada who specialize in the subjects you cover. When you have completed your new work, query them individually, explaining why you chose them and why your work is a good fit for their list.
- Step 2: Edit and submit Edit, revise, and polish your writing before submitting. Get an honest critique from avid readers or authorities. These critics don't have to be writers themselves. Take criticism gracefully, and listen to feedback without getting defensive -- they're only trying to help.
- TIP: Consider finding and paying a professional freelance editor to evaluate your work before going to a publisher or agent. A professional editor doesn't have to worry about sparing your feelings and can help you bang your work into shape.
- Step 3: Understand agents move Understand that agents switch agencies often. They might stop representing fiction and move to another category. Do your homework -- make sure that the agent you're querying still works on the type of work you're submitting.
- Step 4: Construct a solid synopsis Take your book seriously enough to learn how to construct a solid synopsis for it. Research what goes into writing a winning book proposal.
- Step 5: Craft query letter Craft a one page, single-spaced query letter. The manuscript and synopsis should be double-spaced. Ask the agent for representation, and describe the genre, length, title, and biographical information. Summarize the book in a few sentences.
- Step 6: Follow guidelines Follow the submission guidelines for any agency or publisher to whom you are submitting your work. For example, if their guidelines say not to send attachments, and you submit your full manuscript attached to an e-mail, your hard work will likely go unread and be deleted -- avoid looking like an amateur.
- TIP: If the agent or publisher requires a formal, short query, give them that. Don't delude yourself by assuming that more information will impress or sway them -- or that the rules don't apply to you.
- Step 7: Persist Be pesistent. Keep pitching your work and try to take rejections in stride -- they're part of being a writer.
- FACT: According to an estimate by R. R. Bowker Company in the early 2000s, 1,200 new American publishers start up every quarter, or just under 5,000 each year.
You Will Need
- Query letter
- Professional freelance editor (optional)