Last night I taught “Getting Published” to a group of about 20 people at Lewis & Clark Community College in Edwardsville, IL.
My "students" were great. What a terrific, thoughtful and motivated group of people. Wow. They really kept me on my toes.
To follow up, here's a list of resources and a few terms that might be helpful to anyone wanting to write and get published:
Groups and Resources That Can Help
* St. Louis Writers Meet Up
Also google "writers meetup" and a plus sign (+) with the name of your particular geographic area.
* National Novel Writing Month
Next month is National Write a Novel Month. This group will help you get on track and encourage you along the way.
* Writers Market
Notice the free 30 day trial period. This is where you’ll find all the information about magazines, periodicals, publishers and agents. Use it like your own personal encyclopedia. Remember: You can look up the publications by topic, then read about how they want articles, etc., submitted. But whenever they offer an online link called “writers guidelines” go to that because it’s likely to be the most current information. You could buy the hardback version, but online is probably a better value.
* Sisters in Crime
A group of mystery authors—male and female. Join their “Guppies” group which is a resource group for unpublished authors. You can join Sisters in Crime nationally, then pay an extra but small fee to join Guppies. Go to the link below and scroll down to “guppies”
* The Newbies Guide to Publishing
A blog by Joe (J.A. Konrath) with all sorts of information, and a critique form that’s a very helpful device for any critique group to use when assessing a book.
Publicity and Marketing
For a fun look at how an author interacts with a publicist, check out Dennis Cass’s hysterical YouTube video:
For those considering Self-Publishing, read these:
John Kremer--1001 Ways to Market Your Book
Tom and Marilyn Ross—Complete Guide to Self-Publishing
Dan Poynter—Self-Publishing Manual
Remember, self-publishing is a BUSINESS. You must approach it that way, or you’ll regret it.
ISBN—International Standard Book Numbering—like a social security number for a book. Helps anyone find your book. A necessity.
Query letter—a letter sent to “query” or question an editor as to whether he/she would be interested in your article. Usually accompanies a non-fiction article proposal. It is appropriate to follow up after a reasonable period of time by phone. Use Writers Market to determine what that reasonable period might be, as Writers Market lists how long the publisher/magazine will take to respond. (But that time period is always a lie.)
Blog—short for “website log.” A website that allows easy and regular updating so that it becomes an online diary or journal of information. Many are free. Go to http://www.blogger.com/ and you’ll learn more. But there are other blog providers, so do your research first. Typepad and Wordpress are two more providers.
Book Proposal—a package sent to an agent or publisher in advance of sending a whole manuscript. Should include a cover letter, a marketing plan, why you are uniquely qualified to write this book, three chapters and an outline or synopsis.
Synopsis—different from an outline because instead of going point by point, this tells the story in third person of your book. (Obviously it’s for a fiction offering.) It’s as if you were telling a friend about the book. There are many good books on submitting manuscripts. Your Novel Proposal from Creation to Concept is my favorite.
Novel—this is a fiction book. Some or all is made up.
Non-fiction—the material within is true. If there’s a mix of truth and fiction, the book is always considered fiction.
E-book—a book that is offered as a file, online. Readers can choose to download and print out the book or read it online.
POD—print-on-demand. Book doesn’t exist on paper until an order to purchase it comes in. POD publishers don’t command the same respect, generally, that a traditional publisher does. Also, because you don’t have large quantities printed at once, these are more expensive than a traditionally published book. Therefore, if you are a new author, it might be hard to convince readers to spend that additional sum on you since you aren’t established.
Galley—a copy of your book, with the pages printed out pretty much as they will appear in the final draft. However, the pages might not be bound together, just loose. This is used to proofread for mistakes.
ARC—Advance Reading Copy—a copy of your book that will look almost exactly like the finished product, except usually with a cheaper cover. These are sent to reviewers in advance of the publication of your final product. There may still be proofreading problems in this version, and it may not have endorsements from other others or reviewers in it.
Character arc—the journey a character makes through the course of a book or a series. This is the emotional growth pattern of a character.
Blurbs—a complimentary comment that will appear on the cover (inside or outside) of a book to promote the book. Usually your publisher helps arrange these, but you might also ask any author friends if they would be willing to read your book and give you a blurb.
Mass market paperback—the type of paperback you typically see sold at a grocery store. Usually small, say five by six inches. Costs the least of all book types, except an e-book.
Trade paperback—considered a cross between a mass market paperback and a hardback book. Larger than a mass market paperback, still having a paper cover, but the cover is generally of a higher quality, thicker stock. Cost is somewhere between that of a mass market paperback and a hardback book.
Advance—the loan made to an author which is to be paid back by the author’s portion of sales, which is a percentage of the net (not retail) cost of the book.
And here's something to get you going...
November 15 is I Love To Write Day
Founded in 2002 by Delaware author John Riddle, I Love to Write Day iscelebrated every November 15th by having everyone spend some timewriting -- a poem, a letter, an essay, a greeting card.
If you go to and www.ilovetowriteday.org sign up to participatein the day you can get two free reports from John. Just send John an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) telling him how you'll help spread theword and he'll send you: How I Made $66,270 in 9 Months Writing forWebsites and Getting a Book Contract in 30 Days or Less.