Tell Me a Story
AJ, I haven’t written anything seriously before, although I’ve scribbled for a long time. However, I found myself writing a book and it seems to me it’s as good as a lot out there. How can I get it published?
I have looked all over the web, and there are many publishing sites, but I have no idea what's good and what's not. Can you help?
Alison, I'm afraid as a new author you need be not "As Good As" published authors, you have to be BETTER! The problem is publishing houses always go for the safe bet. They're in business to make money, not make you famous. They have a limited number of books they publish each year. If your book isn't outstanding, I'm afraid you'll not get in they'll reach for one of their stable of established authors.
To achieve this, you must first of all make sure your manuscript is as good as it can possibly be. Be absolutely certain you've tied up all loose ends and followed industry standards for presentation.
Cut away ALL unnecessary pronouns and adverbs - nothing screams amateur more than overblown descriptions. Most new writers feel they need to give full descriptions of everything. DON'T. Mostly, what's left out says more than what's in....
When you've cut, cut, and cut; when you've polished it until it glistens, write a short query letter to your chosen agent. Explain any experience you may have, the genre of the work, the word-count, and present a VERY short synopsis of about 100 words (see book blurbs for examples). Only present a full synopsis IF the agent asks you to submit the first three chapters.
You'll find lists of reputable agents and publishers in several trade oriented books such as Writers and Artist's Yearbook http://www.writersandartists.co.uk/ .