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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 458)...

    I'm thinking of writing a book. What's the lowdown on getting published.

    ...and the response:

    The lowdown is this: "Write a publishable book, find a literary agent to represent you (since none of the major publishers read manuscripts from unagented authors), then hope for the best." This is publishing the traditional way, of course. You should pick up Time magazine for January 24, 2000, to see how the availability of e-publishing is changing all this.


    This leaves unanswered two major questions: (1) What is a publishable book? and (2) How do you find an agent to represent you? (1) A publishable book is a book that SOME publisher will see an audience for. (2) A guide to literary agents is published annually by Writers Digest Books.


    But how do you know that the book you want to write is one that some publisher will see an audience for? Find out what publishers actually publish; the books they publish are the ones they think they see an audience for.


    But how do you find out what publishers publish? Go to a bookstore and look at what's on the shelves. That's what they publish. There's no mystery to it. Find out what publishers publish, then write something like that.


    Some helpful websites are these: http://www.authorlink.com/ and http://writerswrite.com/ and http://writersdigest.com/.


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