With my editorial hat on, I have given talks at writers’ conferences and literary festivals on the subject of how to get published. My talk generally covers both fiction and non-fiction, with a bit about self-publishing and seeking different outlets for your work (short stories, novellas, radio plays). I address such issues as:
• do you need an agent?
• how do you find the right agent or publisher for you?
• how do you approach them?
• writing a covering letter and an outline
• being professional about ‘selling’ yourself as well as the book
In the past I’ve spoken at Winchester, Swanwick and Budleigh Salterton and Guildford. Winchester and Swanwick are ‘writers’ conferences’, dedicated to people who want to improve their writing and see it published; at Budleigh and Guildford there are celebs too.
I find that many novice authors are frightened at the thought of ‘getting themselves out there’ – after all, writing is generally a stay-at-home occupation and lots of people like it that way. But in today’s publishing world, that simply won’t do. You’ve got to be able to promote yourself. For practical, confidence-boosting advice on this subject, have a look at Mary Cavanagh’s A Seriously Useful Author’s Guide To Publicising and Marketing Books available from Troubador.