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How to get Traditionally Published: Top 5

By Sofiya Pasternack

So you want to get published? From self-publishing, indie-publishing, traditional-publishing, and something in between, there are many different avenues you can go as a writer. In this blog, we’ll talk about the process to get traditionally published. To be traditionally published means you’ll most likely need to get an agent, who will then help you find a publishing house for your book. This could be at a small press or one of the Big 5 (Penguin/Random House, Hachette Book Group, Harper Collins. Simon and Schuster, and Macmillan). If this is something you’re interested in, please check out the list below:

1. Figure out your Genre

This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s crucial for your book’s success and your brand. Your writing, your audience, and your agent all depend upon what genre you write. While many authors branch out and try different styles and genres, when first starting out, you need a focus. It makes things considerably easier.

2. Revise the Bajonkers out of that Novel The LUW is an amazing resource for this because there are so many opportunities to meet up with other writers who will critique your novel! Not only that, but you can find critique partners who write in YOUR genre. The League has groups for all-genre writers and those that are very focused, like the LUW Romance Chapter. Take advantage of that for sure. And to help you get started, there are some great posts on the League’s blog, like How to Give Feedback as a Writer and How to Give & Get Feedback On Your Writing. 3. Write a Query Letter and Research Agents*! Once you’ve revised your novel backwards and forwards, you need to write a query letter and research agents with just as much care as you took with your novel. Query Shark is a great place to figure out how to write a query letter because they give you examples, notes, and feedback. But, of course, nothing beats actual authors! Many in the League have been blessed with the talent of the query! Talk with chapter presidents and learn who’s been published or who is in the process of publishing. You’ll be surprised at what you find.

As for agents, Publisher’s Marketplace is great for the author willing to pay $25/month as they have a huge variety of publishers, agents, and so much more! If you’re looking for something a little cheaper or free, then the best thing to do is search individual agencies. Check what these agents have done, who they’ve published, and where they are based. For instance, if they live in New York, they may have greater access to the Big 5 publishing houses. Another option is to find out which agents and publishers come to League conferences, like The Pre-Quill (coming April 17th, 2021) and the Quills Conference (August 12-15, 2021). One-on-one meetings with agents or publishers may be scheduled for a nominal fee, and nothing is better than a live pitch for attracting an agent’s attention.

4. You’ve Got an Agent, Now What?

You had agent interest in your query, and you signed! Yay! You’ll probably revise your manuscript again before you go on submission with editors, but now you have your agent helping you along. Agents are there to help you get the best deal possible for your novel. They’re your best friend in the business, filled with awesome information and resources, so make sure you’re asking them for help if you need it!

5. You’re Published!

It’s a wild ride, so make sure you’ve got a trustworthy community around you to celebrate with and to cry on. Be flexible and willing to work hard, and you’ll have a great time in the world of traditional publishing! But remember, it doesn’t stop there. You’ll want to maintain your connections in the writing community. Stay friends with people, review others’ work, and have others review your work. Market and sell your stuff, go to conferences, use social media. There are so many options, and once you have a book out, gaining an audience and traction is all that much easier. And, of course, keep writing! There’s nothing better for your author career than writing and publishing more books. *For more information on finding an agent, check out this post on my personal blog!

Sofiya Pasternack

Sofiya Pasternack is a mental health professional, the highly-distractible author of Jewish MG and YA fantasy, and prone to oversharing gross medical stories. If you’re not careful, she’ll holler at you about how to use psychotherapy to improve character development. Find Sofiya online at or any

social media platform @sofipasternack.


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