Best Publishing Options for a First Time Novel?
Question really tells it all. I heard of like PublishAmerica and all that, they have a lawsuit out those and have been proven to be utterly fake so I don't know much about that. Any ideas?
I actually answered this question several times while writing for HubPages. And to make this as clear as possible, here's the best advice I can give:
1) Build up a resume of your body of work
2) Find a literary agent
By no means is any of this easy. It takes a great deal of time, patience, and perseverance to accomplish this. But nothing as significant as getting published should be easy, nor should anything worth striving for in life be. Your "Body of Work" should be short stories that you have published, such as a literary journal (hopefully a reputable one at that) or that you have submitted to a contest. Once you've compiled such, your reputation as a writer should be sufficient to at least get a literary agent interested enough to at least take a look at your novel. Most literary agents won't bother to look at your novel if you are in possession of "unsolicited manuscripts" or unpublished work.
I myself am in the process of finding a literary agent and am practicing what I preach. I actually have a bachelor's degree in Creative Writing and so can tell you that this piece of information was told to me time and again. A great book to help you along the way is Stephen King's,"On Writing." I suggest to anyone who is looking to become published or wants to write for the rest of their natural lives to read this book.
I hope all of this helps.
Anybody can publish a book these days. It's so easy a caveman can do it.
In my opinion, PublishAmerica and companies like it are going to do for you what you can easily do yourself, and try to get you to pay a bunch of money to do it.
You can go the route djohn121 outlined and attempt to find a literary agent and get the book published via the "traditional" route. It may take years, if you ever succeed. I'm not saying it's not the best way to go. Maybe it is for some.
If you have the novel written (and hopefully well-edited) you can get a book in print published in a matter of days utilizing, for example, CreateSpace (Amazon). There are tools available to readily design your cover. You don't need to be a graphic artist. Ebooks are even easier.
The real issue is not necessarily getting a book published. The real issue is how to make any money. I'm talking about real money, not chump change. It's like writing hubs. Very few authors are making any real money.
I completely agree with everything dohn121 said. And, while writing short stories (and getting them published) will undoubtedly help you get an agent, I do think it's possible to get one without having published short stories. However, you will just need to understand that you have a lot working against you going in. Take your time when submitting to agents. A strong query letter is essential, and you must make sure you've followed their guidelines carefully. Also, know your genre. If you know of authors you can compare your work to (preferably not the most popular ones) and you know how long your book should be, then that will help lay it out for the agent. There are a lot of little things that can make an agent stop reading, and you want to stamp out as much of those as possible. Good luck!
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