This post covers perennial topics for writers. This business changes so rapidly that keeping up can be hard. I hope this helps. (LB: info provided by Lauren Busser)
I’m always encouraging people to edit their work before submitting it anywhere. Real live editors can be expensive, but there is software available, often with free versions, that can improve your writing. The most basic one is Grammarly, which checks spelling and grammar. Next comes Hemingway with a relatively limited list of things it checks for. However, it comes as an app, too, which means you can edit offline. ProWritingAid and AutoCrit offer more comprehensive editing, especially if you pay to subscribe or buy a lifetime membership. Autocrit will also compare your writing to that of famous writers, to see how you’re doing. I’m comparing mine to Jane Green– we’re both English writing in the US. (And there the comparison ends, so far as actual results go.) She’s available to watch in a series of videos about publishing for the Westport Library.
And when you’re ready for a live editor, read this article by nonfiction developmental editor Chantel Hamilton (@chantel.hamilton) It appeared on writing guru Jane Friedman’s blog, which means you can trust the source.
K.M. Weiland, whose website Helping authors Become Writers is well worth following, offers a list of actual editors, with links to their websites so you can do further research to discover which is best suited to your needs. If she recommends them, I’m confident that they’re good. She also offers an outlining software for novelists, among other useful classes and books.
Query Tracker has a list of publishers that it has checked out to make sure they are legitimate. Many of them accept unagented submissions. Query Tracker lists what fiction genres and non-fiction types of writing each publisher accepts. It also lists agents and lists what kinds of fiction and nonfiction each agent takes. You can use the website for free or pay a $25 yearly fee to get additional services.
You can look for agents and publishers through Manuscript Wish List. Searching the site costs nothing. To find publishers, search for editors rather than agents. You can also check the hashtag #MSWL on Twitter to find agents looking for specific genres.
If you’re looking to self-publish and need someone to handle your whole publishing effort, rather than commissioning services independently, you could try 1106 Design in Phoenix. They offer editing and design services. They’re not inexpensive, but as an incentive to joining their email list, they offer a free book: Publish Like the Pros: A guide to quality self-publishing.
A couple of people wanted to know where to submit their work. As ever, I (and member Ed Ahern) suggest looking at Submittable, Duotrope, The Submissions Grinder, and the Poets & Writers database, which also includes writing contests.
If you’re anxious or confused about submitting your work, there’s a Facebook group for you: Binders Full of Rejects. Not only do they post their submissions and rejections (you’re not the only one!) But they discuss editors who are better, or more difficult, to work with. You can also ask other members for advice. Another group is Rejection100, with a similar mission. LB
Tim Hererra from NYT Smarter Living is doing pitch advice hours every Sunday for people pitching articles. He’s booked up through May but if you sign up for his list he’ll send out when he opens up more. LB
See you next month!