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How do I get an agent and get published? Is my material worthy?
I have been writing for a while, but now I'm leaning towards getting my work published. How do I do that without self-publishing?
1.) Join local writers' groups and/or online writers' groups. (Just do an online search to find suitable ones). Their feedback will give you good perspective.
2.) Consider hiring a (reputable!) editor. There are tons of great experienced freelance editors, just be careful to not get scammed. I know people say "don't pay to get your book published," but again, the feedback can be very valuable.
3.) Attend local writers' conferences. You can bypass a lot of the "faceless submitting" by talking to editors and agents face-to-face.
4.) Send out your manuscript to agents and publishers. I prefer to use the above steps to make connections, but this can be a good back up. Just do some online research to find publishers and agents who are accepting submissions. Writer's Market is a good source for some of this information. You can also look at the publisher info in books you've read in your genre, and then look up those companies online.
5.) Cultivate an online presence. Getting yourself known online with articles and building up a social media presence will help your chances. Nowadays, agents and publishers want someone who will share the load of marketing.
Hope this helps!
Emma says a lot of it. I also recommend http://www.agentquery.com/ for finding agents who take your genre and http://www.duotrope.com/ for publishers who take unagented submissions.
Start at the top and work down. Submit to multiple agents at a time - no agent expects exclusivity with a query and many do not expect it with a full submission. Keep good records of what you have submitted, when, and to who, so you don't inadvertently send an agent a manuscript they already rejected. They don't like that.
Oh, and read my 'How Not To Find A Literary Agent' hub. You might find it helpful.
Though the book is quite expensive, I recommend the 2011 guide to literary agents (for whatever year is most current). It really outlines the whole process as well as giving you a list of available agents and what genres they prefer. If you can't afford one, the newest copy should be available at your local library. If you feel like your story is well edited then go ahead and start submitting it to agents. They will be the ones who determine whether or not they want to represent it. (And there is no charge to submit, especially when email is an option.)
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