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Life After the MFA Series
 
 
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January 2021, Part 2
 
Our last email began our three-part series on publishing by discussing strategies to overcome the inevitable hardship of rejection. One reason you might find your work rejected is that you’ve submitted to a publication that isn’t the right fit for your work. The question is how do you determine where to go to find readers who are hungry for poetry, fiction, or essays like yours? How do you locate the agents and publishers who will understand, fall in love with, and want to promote your work? Luckily for you, we’ve collected a range of expert advice on how to reach the readership your writing deserves.
 
Publishers, Agents & Editors
 
Poets & Writers offers a detailed overview of the start-to-finish process of publishing your book. From the differences between small presses and large publishers to the ins and outs of the submission process, as well as how to craft book proposals, the contents of a standard book contract, and promotion and distribution, you will likely find the information you are looking for in this detailed guide. 
 
P&W’s guide points out that publishing houses do not consider “unagented” manuscripts, but how do you get your work in the hands of an agent so they might get it in the hands of publishers? Jane Friedman offers compelling advice on both locating agents and how to present your work to potential agents once you find them in "How to Find a Literary Agent for Your Book" on her blog.
 
Mike Shatzkin points out in "Advice for an Author Looking for a Literary Agent" that after locating potential agents and submitting your work along with query letters and synopses, deciding on which agent to work with might boil down to chemistry. Do your research, he argues, and “learn to use the tools at Publishers Marketplace to zero in on the agents who sell stuff like yours” (over at The Idea Logical Company).
 
In our Writer to Agent Webinar Series, agents from Folio Literary Management, along with guest agents, editors, and authors, talk publishing. Find these episodes and more at the AWP website: "Seven Steps to Getting an Agent," "Loglines and Premise," and "Query Letters."
 
Over the years, many panels at the annual AWP Conference have been dedicated to the process of finding a home for writers’ completed manuscripts. We have included three from our AWP Podcast Series here that speak specifically to the relationships between agents, editors, and writers:
"Author & Editor: The Relationship that Builds a Book" presents writers Jess Walter, Chuck Palahniuk, and Monica Drake, alongside editor Calvert Morgan of HarperCollins, who “discuss the alchemy behind creating such great works of fiction as Beautiful Ruins and Doomed. More than just a conversation on the nuts and bolts of getting a book published, they will look at how the author/editor relationship affects the novel on the shelf.”
 
And "How to Begin after ‘The End’: Publishing Pros on Turning Your Manuscript into a Book" presents a panel of agents and editors discussing “practical advice for literary writers whose novels, memoirs, and collections are ready to meet the world.”
 
In "Agents Without Borders," West Coast agents Betsy Amster, Elise Capron, Rebecca Friedman, Aimee Liu, and Angela Rinaldi discuss the benefits of finding literary representation based outside of New York.
 
Self-Publishing
 
Considering the world of self-publishing and e-books? AWP legal counsel, author, and literary agent Ronald Goldfarb offers some perspective on the changing literary landscape as a result of the electronic publishing boom spearheaded by Amazon in "What Writers Need to Know About Electronic Publishing," originally published in AWP’s The Writer’s Chronicle.
 
Shaunta Grimes makes the case in a Medium post that fiction writers should take advantage of blogging services as a vital method of self-promotion. She argues that self-publishing is often a necessary first step to getting the attention of larger publishers.
 
This week, we will leave you with important reflections from writer and teacher Daniel Peña on the ethics of publishing with the "Big Five" in the contemporary political climate in "The New Ethics for Writers of Color in a Post-Truth Era" over at Ploughshares’s blog.
 
See you in the next email, where we will round out our three-part series on publishing with the nuts and bolts of readying a manuscript, querying, and the dos and don’ts of submissions.

Warm wishes,
 
Jennifer January
Communications Coordinator & Membership Assistant