I often get questions from aspiring authors, and I've found that most people want to know the same types of things. So here are the most frequent questions and my answers.
But first, a caveat. I have to admit that when people ask me for writing or publishing advice, I sometimes feel like a fraud. Who am I to answer questions about publishing? Honestly, I feel like there’s still so much I don’t know! So I tell people what my experiences have been, while assuring them there is no one road to being published. Something that works for one person or publisher doesn’t work at all for another one. And just because I do things in a specific way doesn’t mean that’s going to be the best way for you. If one method doesn’t work, keep trying until you find something that does!
How did you find your publisher?
I opened RT Book Reviews and looked up books in a similar genre to mine. I checked out every one of their publishers on the internet. Their websites have a page dedicated to submissions, where they tell you what they’re looking for and how to submit. I chose my favorite couple of publishers who were looking for stories like mine and contacted them.
Do I need an agent?
Do you want to be published by one of the Big Five? Then likely, yes. Many of them don’t accept unsolicited, unagented manuscripts. Many other publishers no longer require an agent. It’s a personal choice. Find out what agents can do for you, and if you decide you want to work with one, find one who is a great fit for you. In my opinion, having no agent is better than having one you don’t mesh with.
How much money do you make?
You’re kidding, right? Don’t ever go into publishing because you think you’ll make enough money to quit your day job. The only reason to bleed words daily onto paper (or word processor) is because you love writing and would do it for free. Because by the time you get done paying for a tiny bit of advertising, creating custom bookmarks, and upgrading software or repairing hardware, you’ll be lucky to have enough cash to buy a good meal. Really. Sure, it is possible to make a living, but only if you’re very productive and/or lucky.
What is your best advice for unpublished writers?
Don’t give up. If I wasn’t as stubborn as I am, I never would have gotten published. Keep writing, keep trying, and never stop.