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9.10: How to get published

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    chapter 9.8: how to get published\(^{125}\)

    • Step 1: Decide if you want an agent, whether you want to self-publish, or if you are going to start a blog and post your writing under a Creative Commons License in order to publish to the creative commons global network:

    • Step 2: Do research on what has already been written in the genre you wish to publish in. Use Amazon and Google to see if your topic has been covered. Check those sites for possible titles you might use.

    Editor's Note: 

    How did I write and publish a children's book (called Foo Foo Fancypants)? Well, I read other children's books, noticed types of words used and length of sentences and considered age group (what would they find interesting and fun?), found images to accompany story line (using Creative Commons on Flickr or could have drawn my own). I did the same with the story about my breast reduction surgery (The Big-Boobed Bridesmaid). When I was recuperating, I went to Amazon to download a book on the topic and there weren't any. So, I decided to journal about my experience and self-publish.

    When it comes to finding an agent versus self-publishing or going the Creative Commons route, here are few things to consider. If it's important to you to get your writing out to a massive group of people, then finding an agent will have the biggest impact. They will probably market for you, etc. It's a harder path to take, but it's more fruitful in the long run if you can find an agent and/or publishing company who will "sell you" and your book for you.

    If you want to have a lot of control over everything, the self-publishing route and/or using a Creative Commons license is your best bet. Using the Independent Publishing Service through Amazon – via - allows a writer more royalty money and total control over the end product. Granted,

    your book may not get to the masses like if you were to use an agent/publishing company, but that's the "price" one pays for doing their own thing.

    If you are already a blogger, and like to write a variety of things, and want your name OUT THERE more than you want money in your pocket, then the Creative Commons route is right up your alley. You could simply keep a blog, write and post an assortment of genres and lengths of literature, and then ask that if anyone comes across those items and wants to use them in their OER (open-source) textbooks or classrooms, that they use a Creative Commons license like the one you've seen in this book – you can choose to allow the person to use your piece of writing if they give you credit, you can choose the noncommercial license so they can't make money off of it, and you can choose non-derivative, too, which means they cannot change the writing either.


    agents and publishing companies:\(^{126}\)

    There are hordes of aspiring writers out there, besides the well- established ones.

    Many people believe a literary agent will help with the publishing process. It can be tricky to find the one that is right for you, but agents know about the business, have contacts in the business, would know what publishers would be most receptive of your work, and generally they can get a better contract than you would be able to negotiate yourself. Many new authors do not know how much money they should get up front, how royalties work, or many other aspects of the business. Agents take care of this for you. Writer Beware: look for agents that will disclose their satisfied clients list. If they are not willing to disclose names, they could very well be a fly-by-night agency. When in doubt, check your favorite author's books for the agency they use, or check with the A.A.R. (Association of Author's Representatives.)

    It should also be noted that many of the larger publishing companies have what is called an "open call" for unpublished authors. Many of these even accept submissions from authors without agents. Be aware, however, that most of these companies have very strict guidelines of how a manuscript should look when submitted. Check with your favorite publisher's website to see if they have an open call.


    tips for getting published with a publishing company:\(^{127}\)

    • First, identify the publisher that is right for your work. Make a list of books that are similar to yours and note their publishers. If four out of five books you chose are from the same publishing house, your best bet is to start there. 

    • Second, consult the publisher's website for submission guidelines. Follow those instructions as carefully as possible; that will show editors you are professional and serious about your craft. Get hold of a guide for information on how to write a cover letter, query, and format your manuscript. (Note: Many publishers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts, especially novels. They may instead ask for a query. Often publishers do not accept unsolicited queries either. If that is the case, you need an agent to submit to that house. Unfortunately, finding an agent can be as tough as finding a publisher.) 

    • Third, wait. This step can be one of the most frustrating to the author and the urge to submit to multiple publishing houses may arise but be careful. When you consult the publisher's website pay attention to their policy on simultaneous and exclusive submissions. Not doing so can be harmful to your long future with a publishing house. Fortunately, publishers are becoming more accepting of simultaneous submissions as they realize it can take six months or longer for them to respond to an author. Publishing houses that do accept simultaneous submissions are a blessing to authors and should not be abused. Do not submit to anywhere that your work is not appropriate. Doing so is a waste of your money and it encourages publishers to not accept simultaneous or unsolicited submissions. 

    • Fourth, you will most likely get rejected. It’s part of being a writer and should be viewed as an accomplishment and opportunity to refine your work. (Note: Most rejected submissions receive a form letter. If an editor takes the time to comment specifically on your submission, that is a major accomplishment.) 

    • Fifth, don’t give up. 


    tips for getting published without a publishing company:\(^{128}\)

    • Sign up for a service that offers independent publishing, like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) = It’s the service used by Sybil to publish this textbook on paper.

      • Since this book is OER, she doesn’t take royalties, but KDP offers 30-70% royalties.

    • Use their templates and cover makers once you have a final draft you want published.

    • Price your book and link a banking account to KDP in order to receive your royalty “checks.” 

    • Market on your own using social media, etc. Sybil has a Facebook page for her books, both OER and non-OER ones.

    • Reach out to others who self-publish (like Sybil) for advice.

    • Keep writing!

    “Creativity itself doesn't care at all about results - the only thing it craves is the process. Learn to love the process and let whatever happens next happen, without fussing too much about it. Work like a monk, or a mule, or some other representative metaphor for diligence. Love the work. Destiny will do what it wants with you, regardless.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

    \(^{125}\)This information comes from Sybil Priebe’s experiences. Text available under Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

    \(^{126}\)"Creative Writing/Novels." Wikibooks, The Free Textbook Project. 4 Mar 2011, 19:49 UTC. 16 Nov 2016, 21:26 <>. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

    \(^{127}\)"Creative Writing/Publication." Wikibooks, The Free Textbook Project. 20 Aug 2009, 22:22 UTC. 9 Nov 2016, 20:19 <>. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

    \(^{128}\)More information from Sybil’s brain.


    "Someone who wants to write should make an effort to write a little something every day. Writing in this sense is the same as athletes who practice a sport every day to keep their skills honed." 

    ---Anita Desai

    This page titled 9.10: How to get published is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Sybil Priebe (Independent Published) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.