How do I get published?
Whether you've written a piece of poetry, fiction or non-fiction, get advice here on how to find a publisher for your work.
So you're happy with your writing and want to get it published? Well, it all depends on what you have written and what you want to do with it.
If you have written a poetry collection, for instance, you could submit it to a poetry publisher directly and see what they say - as long as you think it's what they're looking for and you're happy that the poems are the best they can be. You don't generally need an agent as a poet, mostly because publishing a poetry book rarely involves earning much or any money at all.
All publishers, large or small, will want to see that you have a track record of getting your poetry published in small magazines first, so spend some time building up a profile of publication that way. Don't be discouraged when you get rejections, because you will. Everyone does! Tailor your submissions to the magazines that are most likely to want your work and keep improving your writing in the meantime.
Poetry publishers range from large, traditional ones like Faber & Faber and Jonathan Cape to small independent, alternative presses and everything in-between. Each publisher has their own preference for the type of writing they're interested in, so do your research and find a shortlist of people to approach that are looking for your type of poetry.
Fiction and non-fiction
If you have written a novel, picture book, children's book of any description, or a non-fiction work, and you want a commercial publisher to publish it, then you will probably need an agent. They'll represent you, send the work to the publishers they feel will be interested, and negotiate a contract for you.
Alternatively, you can submit to a publisher directly. To do this means that your manuscript goes through the 'slush pile' and it will probably take a long time for them to come back to you with an answer, if at all.
If you are submitting directly to a publisher, it's essential to do your homework first and look at the Writers and Artists book or website to see which publishers are looking for whatever type of thing you've written, and whether they accept unsolicited submissions. Not all of them do.
If they do accept submissions directly from authors, check to see if there are particular points in the year that they do so. Sometimes there can be a month's window or even less, so you need to be aware of their restrictions. Don't think that your book is so good that if you don't obey the publisher's submission requirements it won't matter. It will.