Now that your novel is edited and ready for readers, you might choose to self-publish. But if you’re sure you want to go the traditional route, we can support you in finding an agent or submitting to small presses.
Agents, Small Presses, and Major Publishers
Large, established publishing houses (e.g. Penguin, Random House, HarperCollins) no longer accept unsolicited manuscript submissions. This means that, while decades ago they might have had slush piles for editors to go through, they’ve now outsourced that selection process to independent literary agents.
There are small presses that accept unsolicited submissions, and you might choose to submit to a few. If you find a small press that specializes in your chosen genre, is based out of your home city, or publishes books you enjoy, you can always check out their submission guidelines and send in a copy of your manuscript.
For the majority of authors pursuing traditional publishing, however, the route to go is through an agent. For a fee, we can help you write a great query letter and elevator pitches (designed for Twitter pitch events; see below). We can also point you to resources (online and in print) through which you can find agents looking for manuscripts in your genre.
Twitter Pitch Events
One of the most fun ways to get the attention of an agent is to participate in a pitch event on Twitter. Throughout the event (usually once an hour), you tweet a 140-character (minus necessary hashtags) pitch for your finished manuscript. Literary agents watch these hashtags and, if they see an intriguing pitch, they ‘favorite’ it, indicating they’d like you to send them a query email.
Not confident about your pitches? Want some help writing some or cleaning them up? Contact us!
Here’s a list of events; please contact us if you know of more!
- PitMad, the most popular event.
- , for science fiction and fantasy.
- Carissa Taylor’s updated list.
- The Art of Infiltration’s list.
- The Contest Circuit list.
A Word About Vanity Publishing
Never pay someone to be your agent or to publish your book. Any publisher that wants $4,000 to re-edit, re-cover, and re-lay out your book is running a scam and must be avoided. These companies call themselves ‘vanity publishers’ or ‘publish-on-demand’. In an age when you can post your work on Amazon for free, there is no reason to trust a publisher that sets itself up as a gatekeeper and charges admission.
A traditional publishing house will pay the author an ‘advance’, and invest the costs of preparing a book for market. They stand to make more money if they put out a better product. We at HelpEdit charge for our services because, once your book is fine-tuned and ready for self-publishing, it’s all yours. We are not an employer or publisher, but a vendor, offering our tools and experience to support you as a self-publisher.
A vanity publisher will perform the same services (usually poorly), but rather than guide you through independent self-publishing, they’ll make noises about setting up promotions and events for your books — all in order to get more money from you. If you submit your work to a publisher and receive an offer, be sure to research their background (we can help with this). And remember: You don’t pay a publisher. A publisher pays you.