Dozens of guides on the market are designed to teach you to write.
But what happens after you've written? How do you get an agent? How do you make connections? And -- the big question -- how do you get published?
Charlotte's Kim Wright answers those questions and more in her lively new book, "Your Path to Publication: A Guide to Navigating the World of Publishing" (Press 53; $15.95).
Wright, author of the 2010 novel "Love in Mid Air," tackled this subject to fill what she saw as a market void.
Lots of books offer writing instruction. Few give the inside scoop on publication. "It was a book that would have been helpful to me five years ago," she told me.
Along with lots of nuts-and-bolts advice, she also imparts wisdom acquired the hard way: "If everyone's flattering you and calling you literary," she counsels, "all that means is that they are not going to give you any money."
About writing conferences, she says: "There's always some self-impressed New Yorker with a name like Adrienne who's the last person in America who still smokes and who keeps running out at every break to talk on her phone, presumably to Kate Medina and Salman Rushdie and people way more important than you. But then the day comes when her work is up for critique and it turns out there's just one little crack in her armor -- the girl can't write for s---."
Wright dishes advice about contracts, publicists and editors with humor, but she doesn't pull punches. If you can't get an agent to represent you, she warns,"odds are no editor will ever see, much less purchase, your manuscript."
And in today's publishing world, she says, you must promote yourself -- on Facebook, on Twitter, through blogs. Would reclusive J.D. Salinger get published today? Wright thinks not. "I don't think the writer who just writes will exist," she says.
Though her first novel was published by Grand Central, a large press, she went with the small Press 53 in Winston-Salem for this book. One important reason: Press 53 prints on demand. That means it prints copies as they're sold. So Wright can update her book every six months if she needs to.
"I wanted to not have 1,000 books out there when the market's changing," she says. And the market, especially self-publishing, is changing fast.
Wright's book includes a chapter on the subject -- "The Brave New World of Self-Publishing." Like much advice in her book, it's based on experience. Wright is now writing a paranormal romance with a friend. They plan to self-publish the work as an e-book.
“Your Path to Publication” is available through amazon.com and press53.com.