Saturday, February 22, 2014

Editor's Eyes: How To Get Started In The Writing/Publishing Community

Getting hooked into publishing circles can be tough if you don't know where to go. When I started out in writing and publishing, it took me a while to find the resources I needed and to figure out how everyone seemed to know what everyone else was talking about. Here are some  resources that are great for getting your feet wet, whether you're a writer or someone hoping to work in the industry.

Publishing Terms and Abbreviations- find out the basic terminology so you can get the most of reading blog posts and articles you come across.

Anyone interested in being a part of the publishing industry should sign up for Publishers Lunch:  “…the industry's "daily essential read," now shared with well over 30,000 publishing people every day. Each report gathers together stories from all over the web and print of interest to the professional trade book community, along with original reporting, plus a little perspective and the occasional wisecrack added in.” It’s free, it’s informational, and it’s a great way to become familiar with editors, imprints, and publishing news.
Another essential read for the publishing industry is Shelf Awareness, a free e-newsletter about books and the book industry. It's a great source of information, and is read by authors, agents, and editors across the industry.

Want to know what it was like to be an intern in the publishing industry? Read a fun interview where I talk about some of my past work.

If you're curious about what agents do and if it might be something you want to do, check out these: A Is For Agent from Steve Laube, president of the Steve Laube Agency, shows a glimpse of what an agent’s day includes besides reading queries and manuscripts. A Day in the Life of an Agent from Janet Kobobel Grant, president of Books & Such Literary Agency, shows step-by-step what she does with her day.

To find listings of agents, check out the Association of Authors’ Representatives, or Publishers Marketplace. I love Publishers Marketplace both for querying writers and people learning the industry. It’s $25 a month, but subscribers receive an emailed deal report listing which agents have sold what project to which editor lately. Subscribers can use the dealmakers search to look up agent and make sure they are reputable. They can see not only what projects agents have sold and the size of the deal, but they can also search for agents who have sold which genres. Not every deal is reported to PM, but it’s still a great way to find reputable agents. Additionally, hundreds of agents have pages listing what they’re looking for and a little about themselves. Plus, you get the Publishers Lunch Deluxe, a version of the Publishers Lunch newsletter with even more content. It makes finding agents easy, and there’s plenty of info there to help you personalize your query letter. It's definitely worth subscribing for a few months while you’re querying.

Finally, a great way to get hooked into the industry is to be active on Twitter and follow the people who know what they're doing. I keep a list of literary agents on Twitter here and a list of editors on Twitter here. You'll learn a ton from following them and reading the advice and links they send out. Finally, if you're on Twitter, be sure to watch for the #askagent hashtag. Agents occasionally hold sessions where writers are allowed to ask questions on the hashtag and they will answer. It's an enormously helpful resource. You can read the questions and advice from past sessions by typing the hashtag into Twitter's search bar.

Read a lot, ask questions, and keep at it!

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