Let’s face it. Getting traditionally published takes a really long time. You have to get a literary agent, which can take a while. Then you have to revise your manuscript. Then you have to wait an even longer time for your agent to submit your manuscript to publishers. Then at the end of that process, if you’re manuscript doesn’t land anywhere, you may have to start the whole process over with another book.
Traditional publishing does have a lot of perks. But these days there are so many other ways to get your writing out there and build a following, which may eventually lead to a traditional publishing deal – or it may lead to success as an independent or self-published author.
1. Self-publishing. This is probably the most popular way writers choose to get their work out there aside from traditional publishing, and it has certainly worked for a lot of people. Make sure you take the time to produce the best product you possibly can. Hire a professional editor. Hire a professional cover designer. Save up money for a marketing budget. Reach out to book bloggers and YouTubers to promote your book. For more suggestions on ways to promote your book, have a look at this guest post I wrote for Salon Witz.
2. Write for websites and blogs. Start your own blog. Write for LifeHack, HelloGiggles, Huffington Post, or a million other websites. You will expand your audience and get more experience writing. Figure out your writing style, your voice. People who enjoy your writing style will start to follow you.
3. Join Wattpad. Wattpad is a community where writers and readers come together to share stories. While you don’t make any money off of stories you share on Wattpad, it can be an excellent place to build your audience, get feedback, and get your writing out there for people to read. Many authors use Wattpad as a place to launch their writing careers. For more information, have a look at this helpful post about how to use Wattpad as an author.
4. Publish short stories and poems. There are tons of journals and publications seeking shorter works. Building up your resume with smaller publications can be a great way to get your name out there. Join this creative writing opportunities mailing list and check out the calls for submissions.
5. Writing contests. There are tons of competitions and contests for fiction, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting, and non-fiction. Some of them can lead to amazing experience and exposure. Have a look at this list of competitions with deadlines in May.