I have been writing since I was twelve. Now, I'm not going to go into the math of how long that has been (haha!) but it has been a few decades now. I've known since then that I was intended to be a writer. Often times life put a pause on my writing. But it has always been there, waiting for its time.
So after a few decades my friends and family know that I have a passion for writing. Whenever they know someone who is interested in writing, I often get the email or message asking for tips for their friend. I'm going to share with you what I tell them and what my biggest tip is. Aside from the big tip of "JUST WRITE!" because you really need to dive into writing if you want to be a writer. You couldn't become a baker without jumping into baking. Just because you have a great idea for a cake doesn't mean it's going to do anything until you actually bake that cake!
However, second to that is my secret discovery decades ago. It's a book called the Writer's Market. They release a new book each year, relatively inexpensive but a large book and a huge resource for writers. I swear by this book!
The first section of the book goes into details about writing such as what publishers want in regards to fonts, size, page layout, manuscript layout, etc. It's very helpful in making sure that you LOOK like a professional. Publishing houses know what a professional manuscript looks like and often won't even look at one that doesn't fall within these guidelines.
That section also includes a lot of info on submissions and how to put together a perfect query letter and book proposal package. The info here goes into detail for both fiction and non-fiction work as well as non-book items like articles. If you are new to writing and are serious about making it your trade, this book is where you should start.
There is also a large section with publishers and agents, as well as magazines listed. This is why the book is published each year, so that the information remains current. This section gives you all of the wonderful info you need to know about contact info, submission guidelines, also they will usually discuss what each publisher or magazine pays. There is a bonus section with contest information also. Overall, any information that you will need to become a professional writer is listed in this book.
The back also includes a handy dandy index where they list all of the publishers by genre so that if you are writing something specific you can easily search publishers that would be interested in your work.
I like the magazine section also because if you are interested in become a full time, legitimate writer, you will probably need a "meat and potatoes" job in between your published manuscripts and a lot of writers find this in magazine writing. If you have a lot of knowledge in a certain field, such as gardening, you might want to consider writing articles for a gardening magazine. You can find info for things like that in this book.
I discovered my first Writer's Market book back in the mid-90s and it is something I have always kept on my desk and will continue to do so for many more years.
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