Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How to Get Your Novel Published Part II

by Stephanie Morrill

On Monday I posted the full list of steps for getting your novel published, so today I'll start breaking them down.

1. Write a full length book.

Often new writers know they want to get published or find an agent long before they know a thing about story structure or what genre they write. There's nothing wrong with wanting that, but before anyone in the publishing industry will take you seriously, you'll need to prove yourself. And one of the things you'll need to prove is that you can write a full length book.

Nonfiction writers can often sell on a partial manuscript and detailed outline, and published fiction writers can sell on a partial, but I rarely hear of new writers who sell a book without having written the full.

Which means learning to write a great, full-length book is your highest priority as an unpublished writer.

Here are some resources that can help you along the way:



2. Educate Yourself on The Industry

This is something you can be doing while you're writing that amazing novel of yours. Here are some things you should consider looking into:

  • What responsibilities are involved in being a published writer?
  • What part of the job would I like? What would I not?
  • How much will I make?
  • What is the process of a book going from a manuscript to a finish product?
  • Who is publishing books like mine?
  • What is already on the shelves, and do I see any gaps that I could fill? How is my stuff unique from what's already being done?
  • Are there writing groups in my area that I could join?
  • Are there on-line writing groups for me?
  • Is there a writer's conference near me that I could attend?
  • What are literary agents? Acquisitions editors?
  • What is involved in self-publishing? What are the pros and cons? What about traditional publishing?

Fortunately, tons of people in the industry have industry-focused blogs. Here's a

Pub Rants: Literary agent Kristin Nelson runs this one. It's described as, "A very nice literary agent indulges in polite rants about queries, writers, and the publishing industry." She has a bunch of helpful links under her "Cool Blogs and stuff" sidebar. Including this one that I'm particularly fond of:

Brooklyn Arden by Cheryl Klein, who's the editor at Arthur A. Levine. Her editor's site is great too:

MacGregor Literary is one I refer to often on here. It's primarily agents Chip and Amanda who blog on there, but they have great stuff to say about marketing, the industry, and writing in general.

I also love literary agent Rachelle Gardner's blog. Very popular and lots of great information.

I said this on Monday as well, but you don't need to know everything about publishing before you start submitting queries, but regularly reading blogs likes those listed above can help prevent you from making naive mistakes.

Next we'll cover identifying your genre, growing your audience, and putting together a book proposal.

Have questions? Leave 'em below!


  1. Great post, Mrs. Morrill! Thank you! Thank you for the blogs on the industry, too!

    1. KELLLSEEEEY!!! You're back :) I missed you!

    2. *grins* Missed being on here! School's kept me busy lately.

    3. I know how that is. How's your brain doing? :)

  2. Thanks for the helpful links and questions! Wonderful as always :)

  3. I think educating yourself in the industry is very important for someone who is wanting to become a published author. Many people (especially teens) think that having the desire to write is enough. However, there will always be room to grow in your craft. And if you want to be published, you have to know the ins and outs of the industry.

  4. Thanks again; this was particularly helpful and awesome. Sidenote: I'm going to a free teen writer's conference in my area next month, and I'm psyched. I'll let you know afterwards how it went!

  5. Thanks, this post was super helpful! Still working on step one, but I'm making progress :)

    1. That's where we all start, Kate! Keep at it :)

  6. I'm so excited I found this blog! I've written a book but it's not good enough to be published. (At least, the beginning isn't.) This post was really helpful!

  7. Hey Mrs Morrill,
    i notice you said that going to conferences helps a lot. Do you know of any really good ones in the MO area? Thnaks!

    1. Nothing comes to mind. I would Google writers conferences in Missouri and then take a look at the staff and classes offered.