This is the first of a two-part series on strategies for publishing your memoir. In this post, we’ll examine ways to find an agent or publisher, while the next post will focus on new developments in the rapidly-expanding field of self-publishing.
Finding an agent or a publisher for your memoir can be a daunting task, but not an impossible one! Assuming you have revised and polished your memoir to the best of your ability, following are five tips to help you get your book into print and to your readers:
1. Agents online
There are several online resources for finding agents, but I have found AgentQuery by far to be the best. As AgentQuery writes on its website:
“AgentQuery.com offers one of the largest searchable databases of literary agents on the web—a treasure trove of reputable, established literary agents seeking writers just like you…”
AgentQuery has recently expanded the website to include success stories, including successful queries, so it truly is a treasure trove of information and resources. You can do a quick search, or a full (more detailed) search on the website for memoir agents. You will be able to see what a partciular agent is looking for, his or her specific interests or tastes, as well as exactly what to submit (query, synopsis, sample chapters) and how to submit. Many agents accept queries via email. The website also features formatting tips and a free RSS feed for agent updates.
- Books listing literary agents
My two favorites are Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents (the 2016 issue is now available) and Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents: Who They Are, What They Want, How to Win Them Over. These books are overflowing with information to help you in preparing your manuscript, and finding an agent or a publisher.
- Small and University Presses
You can Google small and university presses and search for current listings; an excellent one I found recently is published by NewPages. The current year’s listing of Writer’s Digest Writer’s Market also lists dozens of small and university presses.
- Writer’s Conferences and Workshops
By attending a writer’s conference or workshop you not only get a chance to chat with or pitch to agents and editors, but the opportunity to have your work considered by them (in other words leap over the you-have-to-find-an-agent-to get a publisher-but-you-need-to-be-a-published-author-to-secure-an-agent conundrum). Here are a just a few listings of conferences I found online; you can find many more.
Do Not Give Up!
This tip is the most important of all. Do not give up. This must become your mantra! If you can’t find an agent, find a small publisher, and if you can’t find a small publisher, consider self-publishing. Choosing one of those things to pursue doesn’t mean you can’t simultaneously pursue the others.
There’s an old Midwestern saying: “It’s one thing to put on a church musical, it’s another to bring it to Broadway.” Bright lights and fame are seductive, but the good news is that today there are more stages or venues than ever before to see your memoir in print.
Don’t forget to check back in two weeks for the latest information and news on self-publishing your memoir.
This post was originally published by womensmemoirs.com