To Market, to Market: How to Get Published

August 28, 2015 | Monika

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Congratulations! You've finally finished writing the Great Canadian Novel, or short story collection, or poem, or children's book. Now what? You want to see it in print, of course, with a beautifully designed jacket, displayed face out on the "New and Recommended" shelf in your local bookstore and in your local library branch!

Bookstore Interior

Photo by Mark Buckawicki, Creative Commons

Traditional publishing, as opposed to self-publishing, means finding a publisher interested enough in your book to spend the time, money and effort required to edit, design, print, package, distribute and promote it. You may not realize that you also need to put your own effort into making this happen. Writing the book is only one part of the process.

Here are a few things to consider, some of them before you start writing.

Woman writingWho is your intended audience? Teens or children or adults? Have other, similar books already been published? (Visit your local library or bookstore and browse).

Do you need an agent? How to find one?

What publishers are interested in the type of writing you are offering? Some specialize in children's books, or only non-fiction, or poetry, or romance. Some will not accept first-time writers.

How should your manuscript be formatted for submission? Should you include your own illustrations if it's a children's book?

What are the specific guidelines for magazine articles? What topics are in high demand?

 Photo: Creative Commons

So many questions! To answer them, and many more, here are some books to help you get your creation out into the world. We can't guarantee results, but you'll get a lot of excellent advice and tips.


2015 Writer's Market   2015 Novel and Short Story Writer's Market   2015 Poet's Market   2015 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market

Writer's Digest Magazine has been around for many years. They publish a series of books, updated annually, which offer an incredible amount of information useful not only to writers but to anyone interested in the book publishing business. No matter what you write, from greeting card verses (yes, somebody does write them!), to novels, these books will help you find a market. You can read Writer's Digest magazine in a library branch, or online. Their website is full of fascinating information and links.

 Canadian Writer's Market   Poetry Markets for Canadians   Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents   2015 Guide to Literary Agents

There are also books specifically about Canadian publishers and markets. A great online source of information is the Writers' Union of Canada. Their website offers general and Canadian-specific information and services to members and non-members.

If you're writing a children's book, check out the Canadian Children's Book Centre for seminars, tips and resources. CANSCAIP, the Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers, is another organization that offers assistance, workshops, critiquing and competitions.

Finally, don't forget that the Toronto Reference Library has a space for writers to work without distractions, and with access to these resources, and all our other materials. Find out more about the Writers' Room, drop in to the library to take a look at some of these guides, and keep writing!