The Road to Publication
||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 6 to 8
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||believability, book-signings, double-space, double-spaces, e-zines, header, manuscript-the, self-publish, showing, unlikable, unoriginal, favorable, thrifty, romance, unpublished, storyline
Print The Road to Publication
The Road to Publication
By Brenda B. Covert
1 Stroll through the bookstore. Inhale that new book smell. Feast your eyes on the colorful buffet of tomes waiting to be read by hungry eyes. Listen to the rustle of pages as browsers leaf through manuals and novels, searching for information or adventure. Imagine the authors counting their cash. How did they do it? By following some basic rules and adding a little flair. Let's travel down the road to publication and see where it takes us.
2 Many dream of being a published author, of touring the country doing book-signings and radio interviews, of appearing on television, and of becoming rich and famous. That's a nice dream, but it will never become more than that if the dreamer doesn't first write a book!
3 The literary world wants proof that the author has writing talent. That proof could be a resume of work that could include published books, newspaper or magazine articles, or electronic resources. For those just starting out, the list may be small to nonexistent. It is important to include the summary and outline of a completed manuscript - the unpublished story that the author wants to sell.
4 The format of the manuscript, the summary, the outline, and any letters written must follow certain guidelines. By sticking to some fairly standard matters of physical format, the author increases his or her chances of making a favorable impression. Guidelines that authors are expected to know and follow are as follows:
6 After the book has been written, there are three ways to approach getting published. The author can peddle the manuscript to the editors of publishing houses himself (those are the companies who buy manuscripts, turn them into books, and send the author royalties made from sales of the book). He can peddle the manuscript to literary agents who will peddle the book to publishing houses. Or, if he is really into getting a workout, he can self-publish the book (spending his own money to do it) and then spend the rest of his time peddling it to friends, family, acquaintances, bookstores, libraries, and at writers' conventions.
- Type on white bond paper. Never use brightly colored paper! It's an obvious gimmick.
- The margins on all sides should be one inch. (The white space is pleasing to the eye.)
- The title should be centered one-third of the way down the first page. Type it in all capitals. One double-space under the title comes the word "by." One double-space under that comes the author's name or pseudonym. After the title and byline, drop down two double-spaces, paragraph indent, and begin the body of your manuscript (the story). Always double-space. It makes it both easier to read and easier to write corrections or changes.
- Each page (after the first page) should have an average of 25 lines and include a header.
- The header should be one-half inch from the top of the page. The author's last name, a shortened version of the title, and the page number go in the upper right-hand corner. Separate each of those three items with slashes, like this: [Name] / [Title] / [Page Number].
- Never print on both sides of a page.
- Never use a binder or staples to hold your manuscript together. A rubber band is fine.
- Don't italicize any words. Underlining is preferred.
- Use a common, normal font. No fonts.
7 Those authors who go the agent or editor route must first research the agents or publishing houses. It wouldn't do to send a murder mystery to an agent or editor who only deals with romance novels. A house that publishes craft books would not be interested in a how-to manual for starting a garage band. Authors find information about agents and publishing houses online or in books and magazines geared to the writer's market. These can be found in bookstores and libraries. The books should be located in the reference section. Look for current ones. The listings will tell the author what each agent or house wants and how the author can contact them.
8 There are ten common reasons why an agent or publishing house rejects a manuscript. Students should take note and avoid these things in their own writing as well.
9 1. Telling instead of showing If the reader can't visualize the story, the author hasn't used descriptive writing and strong action verbs.
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