How to Successfully Get Published as a Writer: A Practical Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 13 min read


Understanding the Publishing Landscape

Perfecting Your Manuscript

Crafting a Compelling Query Letter

Finding Agents and Publishers

Building Your Author Brand

Whether you're a seasoned writer or just starting, the journey to getting published can seem daunting. But fret not, this practical guide on How to Get Published as a Writer will walk you through the entire process, making it as smooth as possible. Let's dive in!

Understanding the Publishing Landscape

Before you start submitting your manuscript, it's important to familiarize yourself with the publishing landscape. This will help you make informed decisions about which route to take and how to tailor your approach.

Traditional vs. Self-Publishing

First and foremost, you need to decide between traditional and self-publishing. To help you decide, consider these key differences:

  • Traditional publishing involves submitting your manuscript to a publisher or agent who will handle the editing, cover design, distribution, and marketing. It may take longer to get published, but you'll likely receive an advance and royalties.
  • Self-publishing means you'll be in charge of the entire process, from editing to marketing. While it offers more creative control and a faster route to publication, it also requires more work and investment from you.

Types of Publishers

If you choose the traditional route, it's important to know the different types of publishers available. Here are a few examples:

  • Large publishers: These are the well-known, established companies that publish a wide range of genres and titles. They often have more resources for marketing and distribution but may be harder to break into.
  • Small presses: Smaller publishing houses that may specialize in specific genres or niches. They can be more receptive to new authors, but may not have the same level of resources for marketing and distribution.
  • Vanity presses: These are companies that charge you to publish your book. Be cautious, as this may not be the best route if you're looking to build a professional writing career.

Staying informed about current industry trends and opportunities can help you make the most of your publishing journey. For example:

  • Ebooks: The popularity of ebooks has grown significantly, offering opportunities for both traditional and self-published authors.
  • Audiobooks: As audiobook consumption increases, consider creating an audiobook version of your work to reach a wider audience.
  • Niche markets: Catering to specific genres or subgenres can help you stand out in a crowded market and increase your chances of getting published.

By understanding the publishing landscape, you'll be better equipped to make informed decisions and increase your chances of success. So, let's move on to the next step—perfecting your manuscript!

Perfecting Your Manuscript

Now that you have a better understanding of the publishing landscape, it's time to focus on the heart of the matter—your manuscript. In this section, we'll discuss practical tips and strategies on How to Get Published as a Writer by perfecting your manuscript. Remember, a well-crafted manuscript is your ticket to success!

Writing Tips for Success

Whether you're a seasoned writer or a newcomer, it's always good to remind yourself of some basic writing tips:

  • Outline your story: Having a clear plan will help you stay focused and organized throughout the writing process.
  • Write consistently: Establish a daily or weekly writing routine to help you maintain momentum and stay disciplined.
  • Show, don't tell: Use vivid descriptions and compelling dialogue to make your story come alive for readers.
  • Revise and revise again: Revising is an essential part of the writing process—don't be afraid to make changes and polish your work.

By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to crafting a manuscript that will captivate readers and increase your chances of getting published.

The Editing Process

Once you've completed your manuscript, it's time to dive into the editing process. Remember, even the best writers need editors to help them refine their work. Here are some steps to guide you through the editing process:

  1. Self-edit: Read your manuscript with a critical eye, looking for inconsistencies, weak points, or areas that need improvement.
  2. Grammar and punctuation: Ensure your manuscript is free of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Tools like Grammarly can be helpful, but don't solely rely on them.
  3. Get a professional editor: Hire a professional editor or enlist the help of a trusted friend with strong editing skills to provide a fresh perspective on your work.
  4. Incorporate feedback: Be open to constructive criticism and be prepared to revise your manuscript accordingly.

Taking the time to thoroughly edit your manuscript will not only improve its overall quality but also demonstrate to agents and publishers that you're a serious writer committed to your craft.

Working with Beta Readers

Beta readers are an invaluable resource when perfecting your manuscript. They provide feedback on your work before it goes to agents, publishers, or self-publishing platforms. Here's how to make the most of working with beta readers:

  • Select the right beta readers: Choose readers who are familiar with your genre and target audience, and who can provide honest, constructive feedback.
  • Provide clear instructions: Let your beta readers know what you're looking for in terms of feedback, such as plot holes, pacing issues, or character development.
  • Be open to criticism: Remember, the goal is to improve your manuscript, so be willing to accept and consider the feedback you receive.
  • Revise based on feedback: Use the insights from your beta readers to refine and polish your manuscript.

Working with beta readers can be a game-changer when it comes to perfecting your manuscript and increasing your chances of getting published as a writer. So, take this opportunity to learn from their feedback and make your manuscript shine!

Crafting a Compelling Query Letter

With a polished manuscript in hand, it's time for the next step in your journey on How to Get Published as a Writer—creating a compelling query letter. A well-crafted query letter can make all the difference in catching the attention of agents and publishers. In this section, we'll explore the components of a successful query letter and share practical tips on how to make yours stand out.

Query Letter Structure

A strong query letter has three main parts: the hook, the book, and the cook. Let's break down each component:

  • The Hook: This is your opening sentence, designed to grab the reader's attention. Think of it as an elevator pitch for your book. Keep it concise, intriguing, and representative of your story.
  • The Book: This section provides a brief overview of your manuscript, including the title, word count, genre, and target audience. Be specific and clear in your description, but avoid giving away too many spoilers!
  • The Cook: Here, you'll introduce yourself as the author, highlighting your writing experience, any relevant credentials, and your passion for the story. Make it personal but professional.

By structuring your query letter in this way, you'll present a well-rounded picture of both your manuscript and yourself as a writer, increasing your chances of capturing the interest of agents and publishers.

Writing Your Synopsis

Many agents and publishers will request a synopsis of your manuscript along with your query letter. A synopsis is a concise summary of your story that provides a clear overview of the plot, main characters, and themes. Here's how to create a captivating synopsis:

  1. Keep it brief: Aim for a one-to-two-page synopsis that focuses on the most important elements of your story. Remember, less is more!
  2. Include the key plot points: Outline the major events and turning points in your story, making sure to reveal the ending. Agents and publishers want to know how your story wraps up.
  3. Highlight your characters: Introduce the main characters, their motivations, and how they change throughout the story. This will help demonstrate the depth and complexity of your narrative.

By crafting a compelling synopsis, you'll provide agents and publishers with a clear understanding of your story, making it easier for them to envision how it will resonate with readers.

Creating Your Author Bio

Your author bio is an essential component of your query letter, as it helps agents and publishers get to know you better. A well-written bio can showcase your writing skills and establish a connection with the reader. Here are some tips for crafting an engaging author bio:

  • Keep it short and sweet: Aim for a bio that's about 100-150 words—just enough to provide a snapshot of who you are as a writer.
  • Highlight your writing experience: Share any published works, writing awards, or relevant education. If you're new to writing, don't worry! Mention any relevant life experiences or passions that have inspired your manuscript.
  • Show your personality: Let your unique voice shine through in your author bio. This is your chance to give agents and publishers a sense of who you are and why they should be excited to work with you.

By combining a captivating query letter, a clear synopsis, and an engaging author bio, you'll be well on your way to making a strong impression on agents and publishers—bringing you one step closer to achieving your goal of getting published as a writer.

Finding Agents and Publishers

As you continue on your journey of How to Get Published as a Writer, it's important to know where to look for agents and publishers who will be the best fit for your work. In this section, we'll discuss effective ways to find literary agents and publishers, and provide tips on how to submit your work for the best chance of success.

How to Search for Literary Agents

Finding the right literary agent can make a world of difference in your pursuit of getting your work published. To help you in your search, consider the following strategies:

  • Writer's Market: This annual publication is a treasure trove of information on literary agents, including contact details, submission guidelines, and the genres they represent. It's a great starting point to find agents who might be a good fit for your work.
  • Agent websites and social media: Visit the websites and social media profiles of agents you're interested in. This can give you insight into their preferences, deals they've recently made, and what they're currently seeking.
  • Author acknowledgements: Check the acknowledgements section in books similar to yours. Authors often thank their agents, giving you a potential lead for someone who could be interested in your manuscript.

When creating your list of potential agents, remember that it's essential to research each agent thoroughly. This will ensure that you're targeting professionals who are a good match for your work and increase your chances of getting published as a writer.

Researching Publishers

Whether you're working with an agent or going the direct submission route, understanding the publishing landscape is crucial. Here's how to research publishers effectively:

  1. Identify your niche: Determine the specific genre or market your manuscript belongs to. This will help you find publishers who specialize in similar works and are more likely to be interested in your manuscript.
  2. Investigate imprints: Many large publishing houses have smaller imprints focusing on specific genres or markets. Researching these imprints can help you find the best home for your work within a larger organization.
  3. Check submission guidelines: Always review a publisher's submission guidelines before sending your work. This will help you tailor your submission materials to their specific requirements and show that you've done your homework.

By thoroughly researching publishers, you'll greatly improve your chances of finding the right home for your manuscript and achieving your goal of getting published as a writer.

Submitting Your Work: Best Practices

Now that you've identified potential agents and publishers, it's time to put your best foot forward and submit your work. Keep these best practices in mind when submitting your manuscript:

  • Follow submission guidelines: Adhere to the specific requirements outlined by each agent or publisher, including formatting, document type, and any additional materials they may request.
  • Proofread your work: Before hitting send, ensure that your manuscript, query letter, and any other materials are free of errors and typos. This shows professionalism and attention to detail.
  • Be patient: The publishing industry can move slowly, so it's important to be patient and give agents and publishers time to review your work. If you haven't heard back within the timeframe they provided, it's okay to send a polite follow-up inquiry.

By following these best practices, you'll be well on your way to successfully submitting your work and taking a significant step towards achieving your goal of How to Get Published as a Writer. Remember, persistence and patience are key—keep refining your craft and submitting your work, and you'll increase your chances of success in the publishing world.

While pursuing traditional publishing is a common goal, self-publishing has become an increasingly popular option for authors who want more control over their work and its marketing. If you're considering this path, let's explore the ins and outs of self-publishing and how to get your work out there.

Choosing Self-Publishing Platforms

When it comes to self-publishing, there are several platforms to choose from, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Here are some popular options:

  • Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP): As the largest online bookstore, Amazon offers a user-friendly platform for publishing your ebook and print-on-demand paperback. KDP Select is an exclusive program that provides additional promotional opportunities, such as Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners' Lending Library.
  • Draft2Digital: This platform is known for its simplicity and wide distribution network, which includes major retailers like Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. Draft2Digital also offers helpful tools like automated formatting and promotional resources.
  • Smashwords: Smashwords is another popular platform that distributes to numerous retailers. They also offer various promotional tools, such as coupon codes and the Smashwords Affiliate Program.

As you consider which platform(s) to use, take into account factors like royalties, distribution channels, and available tools. Ultimately, the platform you choose should align with your publishing goals and the needs of your target audience.

Book Design and Formatting

Once you've chosen a self-publishing platform, it's time to focus on making your book look professional and visually appealing. Here are some key elements to consider:

  1. Cover design: A striking cover is essential for catching readers' attention. You can either design it yourself using tools like Canva or hire a professional cover designer to create an eye-catching and genre-appropriate design.
  2. Interior formatting: Ensure that your manuscript is properly formatted for both ebook and print versions. This includes consistent font, spacing, and layout choices. Many self-publishing platforms offer formatting tools or guides to help you with this process.

By investing time and effort into the design and formatting of your book, you'll not only create a better reading experience for your audience but also enhance your credibility as a self-published author.

Marketing Your Self-Published Book

One of the biggest challenges for self-published authors is effectively marketing their work. With no publisher to handle promotion, it's up to you to spread the word. Here are some strategies to help you get your book noticed:

  • Build an email list: An engaged email list can be an invaluable tool for sharing updates, promoting your book, and fostering a loyal readership. Offer incentives like free content or giveaways to entice readers to sign up.
  • Utilize social media: Share teasers, cover reveals, and updates about your book on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Connect with readers, join relevant groups, and participate in online events like Twitter chats to increase your visibility.
  • Run promotions: Consider offering limited-time discounts or free promotions to boost your book's visibility and attract new readers. Platforms like Amazon KDP and BookBub can help you reach a wider audience through promotional campaigns.

Remember, marketing your self-published book takes time, dedication, and creativity. Experiment with different strategies to see what works best for you and your readers, and keep refining your approach as you learn how to get published as a writer.

Building Your Author Brand

Whether you're self-publishing or pursuing traditional publishing, establishing a strong author brand is essential for connecting with readers and growing your career. Let's dive into some strategies for building your author platform and increasing your visibility.

Building Your Author Brand

Now that you've learned about self-publishing, let's focus on another key aspect for a successful writing career: building your author brand. Whether you're self-publishing or pursuing traditional publishing, establishing a strong author brand is vital for connecting with readers and growing your career. In this section, we'll cover strategies for building your author platform and increasing your visibility as you learn how to get published as a writer.

Creating an Author Website

An author website serves as your digital home, where readers can learn more about you and your work. Here are some features to include on your site:

  • About page: Share your background, writing journey, and personal interests. This helps readers connect with you on a personal level.
  • Book page: Showcase your published works or works-in-progress with cover images, synopses, and purchase links.
  • Contact page: Provide a way for readers, agents, and publishers to get in touch with you.
  • Blog: Share updates, writing tips, or behind-the-scenes content. This not only keeps your site fresh but also helps establish you as an expert in your field.

Remember, your website should be easy to navigate, visually appealing, and professional. Don't forget to include links to your social media profiles and sign-up forms for your email list.

Leveraging Social Media

Social media platforms offer powerful opportunities for authors to connect with readers, share updates, and promote their work. Here are some tips for making the most of social media:

  • Choose the right platforms: Focus on the platforms where your target audience is most active. Common choices include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.
  • Be authentic: Share your writing journey, personal interests, and behind-the-scenes content. This helps readers relate to you on a human level.
  • Engage with your audience: Respond to comments, participate in discussions, and ask questions. This fosters a sense of community and encourages readers to share your content.

Keep in mind that consistency is key when using social media. Aim to post regularly and maintain a balance between promotional content and more personal or engaging posts.

Networking and Building Connections

Building a strong network is essential for any writer looking to get published. Here are some ways to make valuable connections in the industry:

  • Join writing groups: Participate in online or local writing groups where you can share your work, exchange feedback, and learn from others. This can help you improve your craft and expand your professional network.
  • Attend conferences and events: Writing conferences, workshops, and book festivals provide opportunities to meet fellow writers, agents, and publishers. These events can also help you learn about industry trends and improve your skills.
  • Connect with authors in your genre: Reach out to authors you admire or who write in the same genre as you. They may share valuable insights, advice, or even collaborate with you on projects or events.

As you build connections, remember to be genuine, supportive, and open to learning from others. As you continue to network and grow your author brand, you'll be one step closer to achieving your goal of getting published as a writer.

With the practical advice covered in this guide, you're now better equipped to navigate the publishing landscape and build your author brand. Keep honing your craft, connecting with readers, and exploring opportunities in the industry. The journey to getting published as a writer may be challenging, but with determination and persistence, you're sure to succeed.

If you're eager to dive deeper into the world of publishing and hone your writing skills, don't miss the workshop 'Everything You Need To Be A Skilled Writer' by Christina Wolfgram. This comprehensive workshop will equip you with the knowledge and techniques necessary to become a successful published writer.