How to find publishers and agents

I received a very unexpected and lovely call Tuesday from a fellow author who reads my weekly column (yes the same column you are reading now). I won’t give out his name because I don’t know if he’d like that because sometimes people like their privacy.

I will however provide this link to a Goodreads Author’s page which may or may not have anything to do with the identity of the mystery caller: James F. Walsh.

I’ve been told that subtly is one of my best traits. That and humor, but I digress.

Anyway, we got to talking about how to find a publisher and/or agent that would best suit a writer’s needs. When I suggested searching Yahoo or Google, the author stated that he did not have the internet at his home. Honestly, I was lost for words because that would make it difficult for a writer to try and find a suitable publisher and/or agent. After we disconnected, I started to think about what my next column should be about. Two and two are rarely put together when it comes to the inner workings of my brain, but this was not the case.

So I present to you: Tips and tricks to find agents and publishers without using the World Wide Web.

1. Use the internet at your local public library. Okay, fine. This is cheating because the title reads without the internet, but come on. This is actually a really good tip because not only does it get you out of the house (I’m talking to all of you Hemingway Hermit authors out there), but it also gets people to support their local library. Libraries used to be the number one way people could research a topic. Now all people have to do is log onto Google or simple ask Siri on your phone. Libraries are also excellent ways for authors to connect their books with the public. I’ve seen other fellow authors have book signings and lectures at their library. ***Plug Alert*** You can find my book, The Book of Roland, at the Plymouth Public Library. That’s in Indiana of course. If you’re reading this on my website you can find it herewriters market.

2. Buy a copy of Writer’s Market. This book comes out every year and provides thousands of publishing opportunities including listings for book publishers, consumer and trade magazines, contests and awards, and literary agents. The listings also feature contact and submission information so you can get started. It also provides material that will help you in promoting your writing. The downfall is that it quite expensive. Amazon lists it at around $30 paperback. You can get the Kindle version for $10, but if you don’t have internet then that’s a minor problem.

3. Word of mouth. Talk with other published writers and see how they were able to get a book published. Maybe they can recommend you to their publisher, if that publisher is a good fit for the book you are writing. If not, then they may have some other ideas concerning the subject. An unpublished author and a published author has the same thing in common: they had to look for a publisher. In my case, I searched the internet for independent publishers that were centered around the horror genre. I was accepted into that publisher, but then they cut a major amount of their “unknown” authors. After that, I looked into Burning Willow Press which was formed from some of the authors that left the publisher that cut me.

As far as word of mouth, if I was looking to find other authors around me, look into conventions, conferences, and other events were authors can gather and talk. The Plymouth Public Library holds a writer’s meeting the first Thursday of the month. That’s a good start there.

Those are my top three opinions on how to find a good publisher and/or agent. I would also say that you don’t necessarily need to have an agent before you find a publisher. You might never need an agent. Unless you’re a moderate to big time author that can afford to pay an agent, then why waste the money?

As always, you can reach me at mastereditingservices1@gmail.com with any questions or concerns. I love talking with other writers and it’s always a breath of fresh air when writers call and chat about the written word.

Keep calm and write on everyone!

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