I get asked questions quite often from new writers curious about breaking into the traditional publishing market. Below I’ve listed some of my favorite resources to get you started, as well as a note on starting your journey toward traditional publishing.
NOTE: A traditional publisher or legitimate agent will never charge you any kind of fee or ask for money up front. Both only make money when you make money. A publisher will pay you royalties on your book at a contracted percentage (and may, but not always, pay an advance on those royalties up front). An agent will make a percentage (generally 15%) on what the author makes on royalties or any other agreements. Traditional publishers and legitimate agents take on a lot of risk with writers, new ones in particular, so it is always critical to remember to be humble and keep your ears open when feedback and notes are returned to you. It is okay to be confident in your writing and to stick to your guns on some things, but remember that traditional publishers and agents are invested in your success, so they want to work with you toward that shared goal!
My favorite resources…
Research on Agents & Publishers
Pinterest has a wealth of location pictures, costumes, and artifacts.
Dictionary.com gives definitions AND etymology behind words, which is extremely helpful if you are writing anything historical.
Wikipedia and such sights are a great place to start research, but remember that you must substantiate anything you find there, as the research can be uploaded by pretty much anyone. Don’t forget your local library as a valuable resource!
The Emotion Thesaurus by by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi
Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer
Media Writers Handbook by George Arnold
The Nighttime Novelist by Joseph Bates
Editors and agents do not expect to be copy editors for you. If you want to make writing your business, then you need to fine tune your grammar skills and hone your craft. If you struggle in this area, hire an editor or take classes, but commit yourself to learning. Do not expect publishers or agents to do your grunt work.
The best way to learn is from those who have gone before. Here are some of my favorite organizations with writers helping writers.
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (the Oklahoma chapter is top notch!)
Good luck! Remember it can be a long journey, but if you give up today, you may have found success tomorrow. So don’t give up! Always believe…