I am of the generation of women who were raised to be nice girls. I learned how to make polite conversation; I learned to try to avoid hurting others’ feelings. I was taught to be kind and considerate, to be a lady. I’ve lived in the South for decades now, which has only exacerbated this situation. :)
But, kids, if I get another e-mail that says, “Just tell me where to start,” they may revoke my Nice Girl card. I know you’re busy. I know researching all this stuff takes time. You must think of it as an investment in your writing career.
The thing is, there isn’t an easy, one-size-fits-all answer to the How do I get my book published? question. (And I fear you’re not going to like the answer regardless.) I know the publishing industry is a difficult to understand.
That said, here’s a basic primer. Very basic.
1. You write a book. (Or maybe just some of it, if it’s nonfiction.)
2. You’ll need a literary agent. To get one, you’ll need to craft a query (basically, a business proposal for your book). You can google queries or I can recommend these.
3. Research reputable agents. You might look here or here, although I just found these links by googling. It’s better to target the agents of books most like the one you’ll be pitching. Michael Hyatt also maintains a list of agents, and if you just put the word agents in his search box, you will get a whole slew of blog posts that should be of interest to you.
4. You approach agents until you find one who wants to work with you. It might take awhile. Nothing in publishing happens very fast. :)
5. Once an agent has agreed to take you on, he or she approaches publishers on your behalf. This might take awhile too.
This will get you started. (You can also refer to my website; I have a page with a list of blog posts that may be of interest for writers.) For more detailed information on any of these processes, there are plenty of other people out there—Jane Friedman, the folks at Books & Such—who are also blogging really useful information. Joanna Penn has a practical post she calls “How to Publish a Book 101.”
The truth is out there, folks. Arm yourself with knowledge. Like everything else in this process, it’s going to take some time.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”