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How to Get a Book Published: Novel Publication Tips

Updated on September 10, 2014

Be a Writer Who Gets Published!

If you want to learn how to get published, the following novel publication tips will definitely help you out.

However, remember that the publishing world is a widely varied one, with all sorts of ins and outs that no one person will ever learn. The more you find out, the more you practice, and the more you research, the more likely you are to get a novel published.

The number one best piece of advice I can offer is stay determined. The writers who get novels published are the ones who never gave up!

Image by Simon Peckham on Flickr.

Step 1: Hone Your Writing Craft

Beautiful Work Helps Writers Get Published

The first and foremost task an writer who wants to get his or her novel published should undertake is to hone your writing craft by, well, writing. Write early, and write often. Write in the morning and at night. Build stories in your head as you drive to and from your day job. Tell tales to your friends and family. Journal, blog, or write technical manuals and marketing materials. The more you write, the better you will become.

It's easier to write if you have some support. Why not try a novel writing month? Writing a 50,000 word novel in a month is a great challenge, and the forums help you to keep going. There's a 'novel writing month' for every month of the year!

So you're already a writer, but you want to know if your writing is any good right? The next step is to place your writing under the scrutiny of the public eye! The easiest way to do this is to blog. Take advantage of simple blogging sites such as Blogger, Typepad, or Wordpress.

However, if you really want someone to tear your work apart, you need to find a critique group. You can form a real-life critique group with similarly-minded writing friends. Or, you can go online. Scribophile and The Write Idea Forum for Writers are both excellent sources of well-spoken, intelligent critiques.

You can also take a class or workshop. Community colleges often offer "continuing education" classes for those interested in building expertise in a particular area. Study is usually inexpensive, and teachers are well-qualified and highly knowledgeable. Find local and online workshops with a quick online search.

And finally, here are a few 'don'ts' you should keep in mind when trying to hone your writing craft:

  • Don't ask well-known authors, editors, or publishers to analyze your work unless you are specifically invited to do so.

  • Don't expect to receive useful information without offering something in return (for example, exchanged critiques, or at least a healthy dose of thank-yous).

  • Don't give up if you receive negative feedback. People point out possible improvements to make you a better writer. And even prestigious published authors know that their writing gets better over time!
Up Next... Step 2: Submit Your Writing For Publication

Books on Writing Skills by Famous Authors - Learn the Craft of Writing From the Experts

These books on writing skills have quite different approaches to the craft of writing - so don't worry if you don't fit into one specific stereotype!

Nanowrimo is One of THE Best Ways to Hone Your Skill!

Step 2: Submit Your Writing For Publication

Your Writing Can't Speak Unless Someone Will Listen

One of the scariest moments of my life was submitting my first piece of writing to a magazine for publication consideration. I'd written the story, edited it, had it critiqued, edited it some more, and formatted it. I'd asked people questions and looked at the submission criteria to make sure that I had everything right, but still I remained unsure. It doesn't say anything about a cover letter; should I include one? If I place my story in the body of an email, should I include a blurb to preface it? If it's an email, does it need to be in standard format?

And then came the waiting, waiting, waiting. Not only did I not know if they'd like my story; I didn't even know if I'd submitted it correctly and whether it would be considered at all!

Chances are, if you're a writer, you're going to have to take the plunge and submit your story somewhere, sometime. Independent publication using a site such as Lulu aside, if you want to be a successful published author, you need someone to publish you. But where on earth do you start?

I can't say whether it's easier to get a short story or a novel published. However, because short stories generally takes less time to produce, you have more chances at publication. Newpages.com is a great resource for finding literary magazines; Cele at Wednesday Links also provides a frequently updated list of paying and non-paying publications looking for submissions. You might ask, why should I work at getting articles and stories published if what I really want is to publish a book? Well, yhe more publications you have under your belt, the more likely a book publisher is to take your manuscript seriously.

In addition, books such as Novel & Short Story Writer's Market can help you find a publisher whether you are looking to submit a short story or a novel. Writer's conferences (for example, the one hosted by the Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group in Pennsylvania) provide a great forum for meeting publishers and/or agents, if you decide to go that route. You can find more resources online, especially in any sort of writer's group or writing forum.

Finally, here are a few 'don'ts' you should keep in mind when submitting your work for publication:

  • Don't ignore submission guidelines. Each publication has a specific form and format in which they want to receive submissions.

  • Don't take a spammer's approach to submitting your work. Get to know the publication and editors well before you submit.

  • Don't let your fear take control. The temporary defeat of receiving a rejection doesn't come close to the eternal victory of having a published piece to your name.
Stay tuned for Step 3: Build Your Writing Brand...

Step 3: Build Your Writing Brand

A Writing Brand Gets People Interested in You

Now that you've honed your craft and you're submitting your writing for publication (or looking into self publishing), it's time to build your writing brand.

It's never too early (or too late) to start building your brand. Would you rather be the published author who, on the eve of his first book release, suddenly realizes he has zero fan base and his name doesn't even show up on Google? Or would you rather be the published author comfortable in the knowledge that hundreds or thousands of people read her blog every month and they're all chomping at the bit to buy her first published work?

You do have a blog, don't you? If you haven't gotten that far, go back to Step 1. The second thing you need (and this is a little trickier) is your own, personal website, i.e. www.yournamehere.com. I used Weebly to set up my site, and I purchased my domain name through GoDaddy. Linking GoDaddy and Weebly requires some technical knowledge, but a little bit of research should see you through. Alternately, there are a million and one web designers just waiting to design your site for a nominal fee.

(A quick note on 'personal' blogs and websites. Yes, they are meant to focus attention on you, but they should also be as 'professional' as possible because you use them to further your goal of supporting yourself as a professional writer. Until you get really famous, try and keep the truly personal stuff to a minimum.)

Once you've set up your blog and website, you need to get people to visit them. Emailing everyone in your address book is a good first step, but will only get you so far. Connecting to people using networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn gives you great exposure; import your blog posts as notes and talk about your writing to let people know that you're serious. Next, search out people on the internet with similar interests, link to their blogs, join their communities, and send them comments and emails. Last, but not least, Tiffany Dow gives great advice on her blog about increasing traffic to your sites.

And of course, here are some 'don'ts' you should keep in mind when building your brand:

  • Don't forget about the real world! Conferences, classes, even the supermarket are all great places to network and get your name out. Here is some info on local writers' associations to get you started.
  • Don't ever leave home without business cards. You can print out simple ones at home, or get them from an online printer such as VistaPrint for a reasonable price. You should get comfortable with talking to strangers on a regular basis.
  • Don't lose sight of the real reason you want to connect with people. Sure, eventually you want to make a living at this, but does Joe Someone or Other really care about that? Provide people with value instead of trying to get value from them. Believe me, they can tell the difference.

Thanks for reading! Also, see my blog for more info on this subject.

Where Are You In The Journey to Publication? - Vote Here!

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Winning at Publication

Remember, there are lots of different ways to get published!

Are You A Published Author?

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I am! And I'm really proud! This is what I did...

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    • Colin323 3 years ago

      I've had four non-fiction books published by mainstream publishers (McGraw Hill/OUP) and a regional publisher (3 on education topics, and 1 on local history). I also self-published a novel and have has short stories published in magazines and with a mobile publisher. The non-fiction market can be easier to break into if you have a skill or interest and can write convincingly about it. The royalties can be much better, too.

    • KarenTBTEN 5 years ago

      I have short works published in literary journals, but not a full-length manuscript. It is easier to approach a publisher, though, with a list of credits -- I think it's been time well spent.

    Not quite yet, but I'm getting there. This is what I'm doing...

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      • NAnand 5 years ago

        If there is anything worth purusing in life it is simply to follow one's true calling. Therefore, I write. My works have been published on non paying sites but I still have to break that stubborn ceiling of paid author. At the moment I have a finished manuscript and an overflowing pot of determination. Hopefully next time I am on your lense I can proudly click on, yes, I am a published author! :o)

      • emmaklarkins 5 years ago

        That's great! If I've learned anything from my writing, it's that you absolutely have to do something you love. If you do, it will always be worth it.

      • agoofyidea 5 years ago

        My friend and I have finished our western and now we are hunting for an agent. We could have picked a more popular genre, but we know we will eventually find the right agent who believes westerns are not extinct.

      • JeanJohnson LM 5 years ago

        I've been trying to write short stories ,so that I write everyday and than read books. Still working on my novel. A writer writes no matter what the outcome.

      What Are Your Thoughts on How to Get Your Novel Published? - Feedback Is Welcome!

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        • profile image

          qlcoach 8 years ago

          Nice work here. Thank you for sharing this information and for not giving up on your goals. You are always welcome at our publishing club.

          Sincerely: Gary Eby, author and therapist.

        • kerbev profile image

          kab 8 years ago from Upstate, NY

          I've got a book in my head I'm still trying to work out....perhaps I should think about writing it down.

        • emmaklarkins profile image
          Author

          emmaklarkins 8 years ago

          The best way to write a book is to start! I never thought I'd finish a book, but writing for just 15 minutes a day (or less!) I've got almost 70,000 words.

        • profile image

          Tarra99 8 years ago

          5* lens!...very informative!...and thanks for visiting my Steampunk Lens...I appreciate it!

        • AppalachianCoun profile image

          AppalachianCoun 7 years ago

          Wonderful lens. We needed this lens because we are writing a book but did not know how to go after that. Thank-you. 5 stars*****

        • jgelien profile image

          jgelien 7 years ago

          Thank you for all the great information provided in this lens. I think a lot of people have a story worth telling but are uncertain how to go about it. 5*****

        • emmaklarkins profile image
          Author

          emmaklarkins 7 years ago

          @jgelien: Thanks for the props!

        • Ramkitten2000 profile image

          Deb Kingsbury 7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

          Nicely done! The process of trying to get published is quite the adventure, isn't it? I definitely enjoy the writing part much more than the selling (to agents/publishers/magazines).

        • Virginia Allain profile image

          Virginia Allain 7 years ago from Central Florida

          I self-published using blurb.com and have been quite pleased with the process. Print-on-demand makes self-publishing affordable for anyone.

        • profile image

          anonymous 7 years ago

          You've got some great advice here for serious writers. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, experiences, and resources. I think one of the most important things is knowing who you're submitting to. It helps to look at what they've already published and who did the editing.

          :)

        • profile image

          anonymous 7 years ago

          You've got some great advice here for serious writers. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, experiences, and resources. I think one of the most important things is knowing who you're submitting to. It helps to look at what they've already published and who did the editing.

          :)

        • aesta1 profile image

          Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

          Thanks for sharing many of the resources you have researched. This saves us so much time and filtering.

        • aesta1 profile image

          Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

          Thanks for sharing many of the resources you have researched. This saves us so much time and filtering.

        • Kiwisoutback profile image

          Kiwisoutback 6 years ago from Massachusetts

          Maybe someday I'd like to publish a travel book. Squidoo is certainly helping to hone my writing craft, but I'm no Shakespeare. Writing online and receiving the encouragement from commenters definitely helps to bolster confidence. Thanks for this useful information, I'll be favoriting this one.

        • emmaklarkins profile image
          Author

          emmaklarkins 6 years ago

          @Kiwisoutback: Thanks! From my own experience, and what I've heard from other writers, all it takes is practice to get good. And that's why Squidoo is so handy - tons of practice here!

        • profile image

          Tahamtan 6 years ago

          It is absolutely true that writing a good book is one thing and knowing how to market a good book is another thing and I hate to say this but both are as important. :) Good lense.

        • HeatherTodd1 profile image

          HeatherTodd1 6 years ago

          Great info ..Thanks for sharing

        • profile image

          thrashklown 6 years ago

          Although new to the Hispanic market, Palibrio is certainly not new to the book publishing industry. They bring with them a proven track record of more than a decade as the world's leader in print on demand publishing. As a new venture, it is designed to revolutionize book publishing for the Spanish speaking world in the same way that they have already done as the indie book publishing pioneers in the US, UK, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand markets. Palibrio's vision is to stimulate the creative activity of Spanish language writers and allow them to reach readers throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Simply sign up at www.Palibrio.com for your free publishing guide & get published to success!

          Self-publi­shing advantages­:

          1. They can do it in your language thereby understand­ing your publishing needs. For example, www.Palibrio.c­om can publish your literary piece either in English or Spanish.

          2. They will distribute your published hardback or paperback to libraries, events/con­ferences, gift stores, commercial & online bookstores all around the world.

          3. They provide 24/7 full support before, during & after the publishing & marketing of your book designed to ensure that it is kept up-to-date & in the spotlight.

          4. They will keep your book available for printing permanentl­y (Print On Demand - POD) - when & in what quantity they are needed.

        • emmaklarkins profile image
          Author

          emmaklarkins 5 years ago

          @thrashklown: Sounds interesting. I don't have experience with this site, but new users should know to research a site fully before committing to using it.

        • agoofyidea profile image

          agoofyidea 5 years ago

          Persistance. Never ever give up. Great lens.

        • N Beaulieu profile image

          N Beaulieu 5 years ago

          I'm glad you added the tip about not letting fear get in your way when it comes to getting published. I'm not quite ready to submit my piece for publication but am already a little nervous about.

        • LiteraryMind profile image

          Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

          This lens offers some new idea. Until now I relied on the Writer's Market. I didn't realize there were other good resources. Thank you.

        • profile image

          Ericastanciu 5 years ago

          I also relied on writer's market which really was a pain sometimes. Giving up is not in my vocabulary but I chose to become a self-published author. That doesn't mean i wouldn't accept representation in the future but for now this is fun. I would love it if maybe you could look at my Squidoo page and possibly consider buying my self published book Electrify Me. It's 0.99 cents and available on Amazon.com. Have a happy new year!

          http://www.amazon.com/Electrify-Me-ebook/dp/B006L8...

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          I learned about several new websites to help the short story writer that I'll be checking out, shortly. It's really hard to get one published if you don't know all the publications that accept them, and they seem to change yearly. Great lens.

        • PopcornThomas profile image

          PopcornThomas 5 years ago

          For someone who spends a good deal of time thinking about becoming a published writer, this lens is a fantastic source. I don't know where to click first!

        • norma-holt profile image

          norma-holt 2 years ago

          Great info for fiction writers

        • norma-holt profile image

          norma-holt 2 years ago

          Great info for fiction writers. I write a lot but mainly on my research

        • kenneth avery profile image

          Kenneth Avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

          Dear emma,

          Delightful and realistic tips. Thank you.

          I love this hub. And here are the reasons why:

          1. This is an excellent piece of writing. Honestly, it is amazing.

          2, I loved every word.

          3. Graphics, superb.

          4. This hub was helpful, informative and very interesting.

          5. Voted Up and all of the choices.

          6. I loved your topic of this hub.

          You are certainly a gifted writer. Keep the great hubs coming.

          Sincerely,

          Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama

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