This blog does not usually concern itself with the whys and wherefores of getting yourself published. There are plenty of other people out there in Blogland who can do the job far better than I can. Stand up and take a bow: Jane Smith, Nicola Morgan--and last but not least Miss Lynn Price, editor and publisher and all round wonderful person.
Her Behler Blog (if you've never seen it, shame on you, and quickly click HERE.) Stuffed full of good advice, wit and wisdom and topped up to the eye-balls with margaritas mixed by the most famous beagle since Snoopy, it is unmissable and, incidentally, responsible for more coffee snorted over my keyboard than I ever buy in Starbucks.
So you'd be an idiot not to buy a copy of The Writer's Essential Tackle Box: Getting a hook on the publishing industry. (Here it is on Amazon UK)
Although aimed mainly, but not exclusively, at the American Market, Lynn writes about every aspect of the way the publishing industry actually works. She explains clearly (but entertainingly) about how to approach an agent, how to write that all-important query letter (cover letter in the UK), the synopsis, how to work with editors and agents--what not to do and how not to shoot yourself in the foot BEFORE anyone actually reads your manuscript.
This book will not automatically get you a publishing deal, but it sure helps. It tells is straight from the beagle's mouth; it demystifies the process about which there are too many myths, perpetuated mainly, it must be said, by disgruntled and talentless writers. She also writes of the book-selling process, too, explains the differences between a book distributor and a book wholesaler. (Hand on heart moment. Do you know exactly?) She interviews publicists and book designers. She also warns against the urge to opt for self or vanity publishing and explains how to tell the difference.
For the truth, sadly, is that too many writers fail to get published through their own mistakes, ignorance and inadequacies. It has nothing to do with snobbish gatekeepers and blinkered old-fashioned industry who are only interested in publishing 'known' names.
Knowledge is power; forewarned is forearmed and all that. With this book you can set forth through the jungle with a spring in your step. Every writer needs a tackle box and this is the one.
And finally--hooray--if it all seems too American for your British sensibility, then the splendid Snowbooks will be publishing a dedicated British edition in due course. I bought my American copy and I will buy the British one when it's published. I'm like that.