Here are a few of the resources which I have used and which I still use. Remember, writing is a never-ending journey, you don’t get published and are sorted. You are constantly learning and nothing is guaranteed.
Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook
The first thing I recommend is The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook (the latest edition – they come out yearly). This bad-boy lists all the publishing houses and literary agencies along with submission guidelines and what types of manuscript they accept. It also has really helpful articles about publishing (which will keep you up-to-date with what’s going on in the publishing world as they’re updated every year), and you can get it from Amazon. Every writer who’s serious about publishing needs to get this.
This book is by the same people who put out The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and is hands-down the most helpful book on the publishing world that I have read. Getting Published explains that most authors don’t make millions, in fact lots don’t even make a steady income, and that if that’s what you’re after then get a day-job. It was helpful, honest and witty and broke down everything about publishing, from your manuscript to meetings with big-agents and editors, to negotiating contracts. Well worth a read and can usually be found at your local library.
Oxford A-Z of Grammar & Punctuation
My friend Bennetts sent this to me direct from Amazon after reading my debut novel’s then unpublished manuscript. She got about 20 pages into my MS and then phoned telling me she couldn’t proof anymore until I’d read the ‘present’ she’d sent me in the post and put it into practice. That woman was super. And she was right. If you’re like me, you can barely remember GCSE English and in a modern online world there is little thought to correct grammar and punctuation. If you get this right in the manuscript you are sending off to agents/publishers you’re already ahead of the game. Get the Oxford A-Z of Grammar & Punctuation and make your proof-readers/beta-readers happy.
I don’t alway use these, and they don’t come from Amazon unlike the rest of what’s on this page. These are people you know who read your manuscript and give you feedback before you take the plunge and send it to the big-dog agents. I cannot stress enough that these people need to be:
- Discreet (so you can trust them not to blab)
- Decent friends (so you can trust their opinions)
- Kind (so that they word their constructive criticisms firmly and fairly)