The Path to Publication, Part I: An Introduction

Writer’s Resources


Rather than going the literary analysis route I had mentioned last week, I thought I’d take a lighter but useful route. During the process of querying and pitching DEAD GODS to agents, editors, and publishers, I’ve come across several useful articles that helped me with and throughout the process. Through a series of posts, I’ll focus on some of the most useful articles I’ve used while querying agents and pitching editors and publishers and start this with reflection on the process of querying.

The Path to Publication: A Reflection

While attaining my MFA at Lindenwood University, I enrolled in a course titled Special Topics Focused Workshop: Publishing Creative Writing taught by Nicole McInnes. I took this course early in my MFA, and I’m forever thankful I did because it gave me a far greater focus on and realistic expectation of the direction of my writing career.

Here’s the course description from the Lindenwood MFA website:

“How do you find a literary agent? How does a manuscript get sold? What are the differences between large and small publishing houses? How do you navigate the complex world of publishing contracts? What happens before and after your book hits the shelves? We’ll explore these questions and a host of others during our time in Publishing Creative Writing. Open to writers in all genres and categories (whether your work is currently ready for submission to agents and editors or not), this course focuses on all stages of the publishing process—from polishing, formatting and categorizing your work to crafting the query letter to working with agents and editors and navigating the psychological challenges of pursuing and achieving publication.”

LIndenwood University, mFA in Writing

Publishing goals, blurb-writing, agent research and compilation, query letter writing, publishing route (transition or nontraditional), publisher research, boilerplate contracts, legal expectations, selling of rights, and more were all covered in this course.

Really, had I not taken this course as early as I did during my MFA, I would have been preoccupied with all the questions that were answered in this course. Having direction and realistic expectations, for me, is key to being a productive writer. This course certainly laid a foundation for what I needed to know moving into a writing career. However, other questions and gaps in my knowledge regarding the process have popped up along the way.

My Next Post

In my next posts starting the first week of January, I’ll be compiling and offering synopses of all the articles and content that have helped me on my path to publication.

Author: Chuck Lang

Chuck Lang is a writer of science fiction and horror. Influenced by his years as a carpenter, four years serving in the US Navy, and his nearly two decades teaching literature, he holds an MFA in Writing (Fiction) from Lindenwood University. After completing his first manuscript, the supernatural horror novel DEAD GODS, in 2019, he has begun work on its two sequels, DEAD GODS: INHERITANCE and DEAD GODS: RESOLUTION. He is currently developing two additional projects, an urban fantasy horror novel and a military science fiction novel. He lives and writes near the frequently flooded Red River in Fargo, ND with his wife and two redhead sons.

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