Skip to main content
Publish date:

Will My Book Get Published?

Author:

Q: I have the first five chapters of a novel written, and I think they’re reasonably good. It would be nice, however, to know if I even have a chance at getting the book published once it’s completed. Is there anyplace I can submit what I’ve written to have it looked over, or should I go ahead and find an agent?—Anonymous

A: Hold off on looking for an agent just yet. Many people begin writing a manuscript and, after they’re a few chapters into it, get excited about what they’ve written so far and feel overjoyed about the healthy direction of the plot. But the challenge of writing a manuscript doesn’t fall in the first 10,000 words, where ideas are easier to find than a Starbucks. The challenge resides in the middle and end of the book. That’s the tough part. That’s where you prove you haven’t lost focus or the excitement you developed in the first five chapters. Dedication is what can separate you from the rest, so finish the manuscript and prove you have something of quality. Then an agent is more likely to listen.

If you want expert advice on the prose you’ve already compiled, you can find critique services on the Internet and listed in the classified ads of your favorite writing resources (I'm sure that plug will garner some "thank yous" from our ad folks). But carefully research the services and people you’re considering—check credentials and references to make sure they’re legitimate. And make sure you know what you're getting for your money. You don't want to have unrealistic expectations, but you also don't you want to set the bar too low. The more information you have going in, the more likely you are to be satisfied with the results.

Also, if you're looking for some immediate feedback, you can hop over to the Writer's Digest Forum and post under the Critique Central section (you can view the Critique Guidelines here). You must be a registered member to post (registration is free).

Brian A. Klems is the online managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine.

Have a question for me? Feel free to post it in the comments section below or e-mail me at WritersDig@fwpubs.com with “Q&Q” in the subject line. Come back each Friday as I try to give you more insight into the writing life.

3 Things Being a Broadway Wig Master Taught Me About Storytelling

3 Things Being a Broadway Wig Master Taught Me About Storytelling

A career behind the curtain helped Amy Neswald in creating her own stories. Here, the author shares 3 things being a broadway wig master taught her about storytelling.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Out of Control

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Out of Control

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let things get a little out of control.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Next Steps

Here are the final steps for the 14th annual November PAD Chapbook Challenge! Use December and the beginning of January to revise and collect your poems into a chapbook manuscript. Here are some tips and guidelines.

NaNoWriMo’s Over … Now What?

NaNoWriMo’s Over … Now What?

After an intense writing challenge, you might feel a little lost. Here are some tips from Managing Editor and fellow Wrimo Moriah Richard for capitalizing on your momentum.

Ian Douglas: On Telling the Truth in Science Fiction

Ian Douglas: On Telling the Truth in Science Fiction

New York Times bestselling author Ian Douglas discusses how he incorporated implausible conspiracy theories to uncover the truth in his new science fiction novel, Alien Hostiles.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 589

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a yesterday poem.

Revenge

Revenge

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, write about revenge.

Peter Fiennes: On Finding Hope in the Writing Process

Peter Fiennes: On Finding Hope in the Writing Process

Critically acclaimed author Peter Fiennes discusses his quest to find hope in his new travel/Greek mythology book, A Thing of Beauty.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 30

For the 2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Today's prompt is to write a The End and/or The Beginning poem.