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Tips and Advice on Getting Published

So you've written your masterpiece and all you need now is to get it published so that the general public can see just how great a writer you are. The problem is this - where to start! Let's get one thing clear - getting your work published is not going to be easy and nor is it going to be the work of a moment, so patience is needed, but if you follow some sensible tips - given below - you stand a much better chance than anyone coming into the game blind.

The very first piece of advice that anyone wishing to get work published needs to take heed of is this: buy the latest copy of the Writers and Artists Yearbook. This is an annual publication that is akin to the industry bible, and without it you are utterly lost. It lists all agents and publishers, plus magazines, newspapers, and more, and is not just useful - it is vital. Here you will find all the information you need -contact addresses and so on - to get started.

The second step is to make sure you are aiming to send your manuscript to the right outlets: there is no point in sending a magazine article to a publisher of reference books, and neither is there any point in sending a science fiction novel to a publisher of children's books. The yearbook will give you details of the sort of work each agent or publisher handles - makes sure you target those that are relevant.

Next you need to make sure your manuscript is properly formatted and ready to be despatched to possibly interested parties: not only should you have thoroughly checked the spelling and grammar, but you need to make sure it meets the standard formatting requirements - double spaced, one side only, 12 point plain font and margins all round - but that it meets any specific requirements of the publishing houses you are sending it to. These can be as mundane as using the correct name and address, enclosing a stamped addressed envelope, and so on - check with them before sending, as any not formatted correctly or incorrectly sent will simply be discarded.

Another important move is to send a covering letter with your submission; a bit about you, who you are and what you have done in life, why you chose to write and what gave you the inspiration - not too long, and not too detailed, and do not try and be witty and clever as it is a letter of introduction, that's all.

These are the rights and wrongs with submitting a manuscript for publication; you may find more advice from other writers at online writing groups and forums, or at your local writing circle, but make sure you are aware of any specific requirements of the recipient.

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