This is the text almost verbatim sent to a writer who contacted me blind from several continents away re getting their book published. Given the distance, and some combo of my experience and my own limitations, this was the best advice I could offer. It might prove useful to others.
Make sure the manuscript is in the best shape possible, research agents and/or publishers who handle material like yours (e.g. look for comparable publications and see who has represented and published them, visit their websites, review their submission guidelines, and submit, and, if you believe in your work, keep submitting). Don’t rule out independents in your geographic area as that’s a way to get your work in to print and does not necessarily preclude you getting published internationally later on – plus the artist development tends to be more hands on (though the resources are less). I don’t have any other formula – though, obviously, self-publishing is also an option. [This wasn’t in the email but I’ll add that I still come across submission guidelines for writer opportunities – literary awards, residencies, fellowships, festival invites, critical reviews that can help place your published work in the literary canon – that do not consider self-published, vanity, or hybrid published works as published. So while there are more and cheaper paths than ever to self-publishing, and many great and successful self-published works, many reasons why either path is a legitimate one in its own right, there are still quite a few barriers; so when considering your path to publication, it’s worth it to consider your publishing goals.] (If self-publishing), you will need your own money to cover the cost of every stage of the publishing process including pre-press (editing, design and layout, cover art etc.) to marketing and distribution. You will need to have your manuscript professionally edited and do your research re the right platform for the roll-out – I provide editing services if this is something you wish to discuss commissioning.
I’m copying below some links to resources for writers that I have posted online [at the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize platform]:
Resources [which includes information on how authors get paid for appearances and the like, copyright information, tips for freelance writers, book publishing information, information on publishing in journals and anthologies, promotion information for authors, writing, and xtras for the stuff that doesn’t fit in any of the other categories]
Opportunities [which links to deadlines related to opportunities for artistes, i.e. opportunities with pending deadlines, Opportunities Too, as sometimes contests can be a route to publication and some published or award winning short stories have been known to go on to get published (see my own Musical Youth ), also some that were submitted, didn’t win, but caught someone’s eye anyway – e.g. The Boy from Willow Bend and ‘Amelia at Devil’s Bridge’ published in Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean. Some short stories have even become feature films as my agent reminded me when we discussed the rights I was being asked to give up for inclusion of one of my short stories in a particular anthology. The Opportunities post primarily though gives a rundown of ongoing and recurring opportunities to submit to contests and awards, markets, programmes, publishers, ways to seek project funding and opportunities to pay it forward by supporting another writer’s journey]
[Let me also add these guidelines for not just getting published but building a career as a writer by award winning Trinbagonian author K. Jared Hosein and me (Antiguan-Barbudan author Joanne C. Hillhouse)]
That’s the best advice I can offer.