Research is unfulfilling drudgery for many people. If you’re interested in writing, then you probably want to write, not search through hefty books or web sites telling you what you should and should not submit. It’s rather boring reading.
However, research doesn’t have to be a drag. Here are some simple ways you can begin to uncover some publishing options.
Visit a Bookstore or Your Books at Home
Look through a bookstore and take particular notice of the publishers listed on the spines of your favorite books. You’ll soon learn the logo of each publisher. Now that you know the publishers who print your kind of work, look them up online or in a writing guide such as the Writer’s Market Guide. Perhaps your favorite writers have published with several different companies. See if you can find out why these writers may have changed publishers. It may be that some are more willing to publish first-time authors.
Check Out Magazine Racks
The same plan applies here with magazines. Browse magazines and try to settle on three or four that fit your interests. These may not be your first choice for submitting an article since the competition will be tough be beat without some publishing credentials, but see if you can find magazines similar to them that accept new authors.
Look Up Literary Agents
We’re digging into the tougher research here. First time authors and published authors may both need agents. While agents are not essential, they can be the key to opening the doors at publishing houses for unknown authors. While you’re looking up your favorite books, check the acknowledgements pages for information about their agents. Perhaps the agent of your favorite author is willing to review your manuscript. The Writer’s Market Guide and other literary agent guides will also help you find agents suited to your interests.
In each of these scenarios, publishing research can begin with the books on the your shelf or in your local book store, a prospect that shouldn’t be too daunting. Look through your favorite books and start with these lists. Once you have some preliminary info in hand, you can start probing into guides and online writing sites.
Remember this is a process. You are gradually accumulating knowledge. You will never become a publishing industry expert. This is simply a process of gathering bits and pieces of information over time, gradually putting together enough parts to send you on your way toward publishing.