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Writers wishing to submit manuscripts to publishers should check the publisher’s website for their submission guidelines. Most publishers will want to receive a letter of enquiry and then a book proposal that, for a non-fiction title, outlines the market for your book, how your book contributes something new to the subject, who you are and why you are qualified to write this book, a table of contents and a sample chapter. There are numerous Internet sites that will help a writer develop a book proposal.
It is generally not necessary to write a proposal for a work of fiction but it won’t hurt to send a short proposal that might elevate your work from the ‘slush pile’, the stack of unsolicited manuscripts that burden busy publishers. Often in the case of fiction and poetry it is useful to have your work published in a literary magazine before submitting the manuscript to a book publisher. Canadian literary magazines serve the useful functions of curating literary works, developing emerging writers and providing a place in which a writer may be discovered by a publisher. For a list of Canadian literary magazine go to the Magazines Canada website. For a list of BC published magazines go to the Magazine Association of BC (MABC) website.
It is not absolutely necessary to have a literary agent, and it is sometimes as difficult to get representation by an agent as it is to get a publisher. Agents work with their clients to present the best possible manuscript, they seek suitable publishers for their clients, they negotiate on their behalf, and they monitor sales and marketing efforts of the publishers. For a list of agents and more information for writers go to the Writers’ Union of Canada website.
ABPBC Publisher Members
For a listing of ABPBC members and the types of work they publish go to the Member Directory section of this website.
Other useful links:
Access Copyright is an agency that ensures that creators and publishers are fairly compensated for the use of their works. They also provide educators, businesses and other users of copyright protected works with the ability to copy from millions of books, magazines and newspapers in a flexible, convenient and economical way.
Printer or Publisher?
The ABPBC often gets calls from writers who think they are looking for a publisher but who really need the services of a printer. If you are simply interested in providing copies of your book to family members or working on a local history with limited sales potential, or you want copies of your recipes bound or a child’s literary effort preserved, you are looking for a printer, not a publisher. See our Friends section of the ABPBC website for printers’ contact information. If your print run is very small, you may simply need the services of a copy shop.