I’ll start with a mild disclaimer; this post is directed at writers who want to work with a publisher as soon as possible, and become novel authors again and again. If you’ve written one novel and will be broken-hearted if it doesn’t find a home at the Big Five, these pointers won’t help you.
However, if you’ve got a story to share — the first of many — and you’re happy to let fame and fortune come later (actually for fortune-seeking folks, I’d recommend switching to lottery tickets) this list might help you put one foot in front of the other.
1. Start Local
I have yet to sign a contract with a publisher in my area code. However, when considering the global market, a domestic publisher can be a huge win. Through sheer coincidence, one of the managing editors at my first publisher was in Victoria at the time of my launch. She was able to attend and I could finally put a face to one of the names I’d dealt with in connection to the culmination of my publishing dreams. I would wish that on every author.
2. Check Your Bookshelf
If you have books from publishers outside the Big Five (and please tell me you do!) this is a great place to start in looking for like-minded editors. A book you loved and influenced you as an artist is an excellent place to start. I’ve met writers too intimidated to submit to the publisher who worked with their author crush. If you can get over that, you’re halfway to participating in the publishing world as a professional.
3. Network (in person and online)
Comment on author blogs in your genre or area of interest. Go to writer events in your community. If you’re networking effectively, you’ll realize how many, many, many other writers are around you. Some of them are more experienced, some are more talented. Some have achieved milestones that are only on your wish list. Deal with it and get out there anyway.
4. Tap Into Resources
Join professional organizations and subscribe to mailing lists. I’m a member of the Federation of BC Writers and Speculative Fiction Writers of Canada. I subscribe to Authors Publish, Aerogramme Writers’ Studio, and Quick Brown Fox. There are many more groups, organizations, blogs, and newsletters to help writers. Find a few that work for you and plunge in.
5. Use the Internet
This might sound basic and cheeky, but a few well placed keywords can connect you to independent publishers you’ve never considered — maybe never even heard of. I’m a YA (aka young adult) author and I prefer plot lines of the speculative nature. I like to craft stories with a strong element of magic realism. It’s my core strength as a writer. I also aspire to create narratives that blur the line between fantasy and science fiction. So you can see my keywords jumping off the screen. What are yours?
Originally published at christine-hart.blogspot.ca on March 21, 2016.