Tips for getting traditionally published in genre fiction

Self-publishing, also known as indie publishing, is quite different than traditional publishing, and lots of advice and tips can be found on other sites.

The golden rule for getting traditionally published is “know your markets.” Identifying appropriate markets for your work requires research which can be time-consuming, expensive, and often frustrating. There aren’t really any shortcuts.

The basic steps are:

1. identify publishers/agents

2. find their submission guidelines (if they have them, not all do)

3. find and read examples of their publications/clients

4. evaluate whether what you write is right for them or decide whether you can write something that meets their guidelines

5. submit something or move on to the next publisher/agent

Novel & Short Story Writers Market, usually referred to by writers as Writers Market, (published by Writers Digest) comes out once a year and is a good place to start.  Most libraries have a copy.

Other sources: (offers two free weekly email newsletters as well as one for paid subscription)

Subscriptions required:

Writer’s Market online
Queen Gila

One of the chief benefits of spending the money on membership to national writing organizations or joining free online writing groups is networking and information about markets.

Crime fiction/Mystery

Submitting a novel to a major publisher requires an agent; small presses and short stories do not require agents. See For short stories, consider joining for free the Short Mystery Fiction Society.


Romance Writers of America (RWA); also try Consider subscribing to Cyndi Sterling’s excellent free weekly newsletter–


Horror Writers of America (HWA); also see

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA): see also the SFWA market resources:

YA and Children’s

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)

Updated July 20, 2023

Header photo: Ithaca, NY courtesy of the talented Paul Joran


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