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Q: How do I get my novel published as a first-time writer with no credentials? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: How do I get my novel published as a first-time writer with no credentials?
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Books and Literature
Asked by: 5662-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 23 Jan 2005 01:26 PST
Expires: 22 Feb 2005 01:26 PST
Question ID: 461866

I've just graduated from New York University with a degree in film
production and I have written and directed numerous short films with
little luck in the industry thus far. I'm only 22. I have written
three feature screenplays and with my latest screenplay, I've
converted it into a 300 or so page novel that I am proud of. My
writing style is very Salinger although I do concentrate on plot and
character rather than just ranting. Basically I write how I speak, but
the story still holds the reader's interest (from some feedback) even
if they don't like the way I talk.

I'm moving to Los Angeles to work in the film industry as a gaffer,
but I have the ability to return to New York off and on.

I'd like to know how to publish my novel, with hopes of becoming a
full-time novelist in the near future. Basically, from start to
finish, what is the best route to take?

I need as many details as possible if you could find it for me
concerning every aspect of reaching my goal (even what type of font I
should use when sending in a sample of my work). I also would like to
know how to take this journey with the cheapest methods!

Okay, hope this doesn't overwhelm anybody, and thanks again, 


Frustrated filmmaker who wants to take another route in the arts.
Subject: Re: How do I get my novel published as a first-time writer with no credentials?
Answered By: hedgie-ga on 23 Jan 2005 08:49 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

   I will not give you 'many details' such as 'font' etc
 because there are not important - as long as manuscript is readable.

If you do insist on mountain of details, kindly say so now - and I will
withdraw the answer.
 Instead of details, I will provide couple of "don'ts"  to avoid
popular mistakes, such as 'typeset it, mailing manuscript cold  ...

You need to know the basics, the 'querry letter', the 'slush pile',
and things which drive editors crazy.
 Good  overview is book by late  Scott Meredith called Writing to Sell

However, do nod send your novel to the agency he founded, which still reads
manuscripts for fee and places some (even when invited)
Their record with new authors is an open question.

Your question - as I hope you know - is a catch 22: good agent (not to
mention publisher) will usually not even look at your novel until you
were published
and and your fists book made money. You need something more then persistence. 

Signing for creative writing workshops may help - some are run by
university extensions and are almost free. It will give you honest
assesment and tips (including fonts - as recommended here:
You need to listen to the advice, and be skeptical (as  scams and
vanity publishers abound) . Most of the good advice is available for
and more under the
SEARCH TERMS: wrting to sell , (combine with type e.g. screenplay ..)

It is easier to sell a short story then a book and e-book then printed book.
Some serious successful writers started with stories, blogs and self-published
Do not confuse :Self-Publishing with Vanity Press Publishing and PODs
SEARCH TERMS:  Self-Publishing . Vanity Press Publishing . POD 
POD is  explained here:

I cannot recommend this particular book/course (as I did not read it)
but topics mentioned here should be explored:

Internet presents new options and offers many resources

Your goal is to establish a name, to be able to mention 'previous credits'
in the querry letter. You do not need to have 'friend' in the industry
to start. Your establish professional friendships as you deliver good
You need to avoid the common pitfalls - sending out unsolicited manuscripts
which no one has time to read. You minimize the publishers risk - and you
start by not wasting her time.


Request for Answer Clarification by 5662-ga on 24 Jan 2005 05:33 PST
You gave a lot of good advice, but I'd still like to know the detailed
steps I could take from taking my microsoft word document up until
sending in my story (manuscript?) to a publisher (s) and/or agent (s).
In other words, from the moment I've decided I'm done with the story
and I'd like to send it out. Who do I send it to? How do I solicit to
these people? What do I include once I've sent it out? And I guess
that would be sufficient. Thanks for your help.

Clarification of Answer by hedgie-ga on 24 Jan 2005 07:38 PST

  detailed steps: 

1) Do not send out the whole manuscript
  and do not send  it out at random. (this may take self-discipline)
2) Read the material I referenced 
3) At least read the  whole book by Scott M 
   You do not expect me to type in the whole book, for you, do you?
   Do you have problem with learning new skils ?

4) After you do all that, you will know what to do

      You only send query letters
      possible with SASE + 2 chapters, as explained in references  I gave you.
 5) If you cannot wait at all - and have few $100 to waste
     Call Meredith agency and negotiate a reading - at least you get 
   a detailed response. If you are an undiscovered genius, and lucky,
they may find a publisher for you.

6) If you do  not have few $100s to waste , and refuse to read references
   you may (against my advice) buy a book  Writers Market
 and send MS to  SELECTED addresses. You read what they publish and send it
(2 chapteres, cover, SASE .. ) to those who fit. 
 If you do multiple submissions, you MUST say that in the cover letter.
 (your MS will end up in the slush pile in 90% of cases)
 If you do not, then after few month (or years) - depending on your
level of    persitence, you will be older and wiser.
Then, go back to 1) Stop mailing out at random
                 2) Read all the references

Repeat until you sell something or change your mind.

Good luck.
5662-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thank you.

Subject: Re: How do I get my novel published as a first-time writer with no credentials?
From: probonopublico-ga on 23 Jan 2005 01:34 PST

There's no surefire way forward.

But do put your novel out there ... maybe somebody will like it.

Maybe you can make some great contacts in LA.

Best of luck!
Subject: Re: How do I get my novel published as a first-time writer with no credentials?
From: techtor-ga on 23 Jan 2005 02:22 PST
Probably the cheapest and easiest way to publish a novel is to have a
publisher or an agent as a friend who's willing to do it as a favor.
Otherwise, the "persevere" way is the way to go. Send it to publishers
one-by-one, take in their comments, and keep sending the novel
manuscript to publishers until one says, "This is a great novel, we
wish to publish it!" But still, even a friend publisher/agent will
have comments about your novel that you will need to listen to. Good
Subject: Re: How do I get my novel published as a first-time writer with no credentials?
From: johnkremer-ga on 05 Feb 2005 21:34 PST
Two comments:

On my web site, I list 370+ editors who have bought a first novel in
the past year and a half. Web: I also have tracked the
activity of 1500 literary agents in the past two years. I know of at
least 50 who have SOLD a first novel in the past year. The editor or
agent you want to approach is the one who has bought or sold a novel
like YOURS in the past year. That means: Don't send a romance novel to
a fantasy editor. Don't send an historical romance novel to an editor
who likes time-travel romances. Don't send a literary novel to someone
who only deals with genre novels. Etc. You get the idea.

The best way to find out what the editors and agents like is to visit
a good bookstore and go to the section where your novel would be
shelved. Check out who is editing and agenting those books. You can
generally find out by reading the acknowledgements section. Most
novelists thank their editors and agents.

Now, having those resourse isn't enough. You still need to know how to
interest an agent or editor. First, never send an entire manuscript.
Send the first two pages, or first two chapters. If they get
interested in your novel, they'll call you. Most editors and agents
can tell in the first two pages if a novel is going to be any good.
Most don't read past the first two or three pages unless you've got
them hooked.

One tip here: Make sure your first two pages capture the imagination
of the reader. As many editors will tell you, you've got to shoot the
sheriff in the first page; i.e., get the action going, get the reader
interested in the plight of the main character, get the reader to fall
in love with the main character.

Finally, learn how to write a good book proposal -- which includes
several sample chapters, something about the author, an analysis of
competing titles, and a description of the plot, main characters, and
setting. There are many good books that cover this subject. Read them.

John Kremer, author, 1001 Ways to Market Your Books
Subject: Re: How do I get my novel published as a first-time writer with no credentials?
From: windowsill-ga on 04 Apr 2005 23:31 PDT
The problem with fiction books (first-time authors) is that it is (1)
hard to sell to publishers, and (2) once the book is published, it is
hard to sell, period, to readers. If you are impatient and can't wait
out the arduous process of getting accepted by a publisher, I
recommend using an inexpensive, yet professional, publishing service,
such as

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