Getting Published or E-published/My Best Chances


Hi Cathy,

I'm a no-name, novice, first-time writer, and I'm at the point of nearly finishing a fictional novel. I know I have a hard road ahead of me if I truly want to be published, which I do, and I want to do everything I possibly can to see it through by making the right choices--of course, in the end, it does come down to whether they like the story or not.

When my novel is finished, would my next step be to have it copyrighted first before I do anything else? Also, as far as editing goes, is this something I should do prior to sending it to any agent or publishers---or would this be a service they would provide. Mind you, I comb through my chapters constantly for errors, but would I be better off getting together with a professional editor before I send it out?

Lastly, can I publish it on E-Books first while I send inquiries out to various agents and commercial publishers? I am a realist, and although I think my book is wonderful (of course, it's my baby) I do know I have a slim chance of being published to see my book in stores. My dream is to have my book in stores. I don't plan on being a millionaire, but it would be nice to make a tidy living out of it so that I may stay far away from my old desk jobs, start on my second book, and home school my cats. :)

Any advice or wisdom is appreciated.
Thank you!

Hi, Michele!

Sorry for the delay in responding. My email went down for a while and I'm just catching up on the backlog.

Actually, it's best to wait to copyright until it's published in the way you want. Copyright registration is a snapshot of a book. It registers the words in the exact particular order you submit,. Future edits or ideas or new versions don't get any protection. You'd just have to register it again if you make any changes that a publisher might request. But it's protected the moment you put words to screen so it's not really a problem anyway. Read more about your rights at the Copyright website:

You definitely need to polish it as best you can before you send it out, but I wouldn't worry about professional editing unless you get back comments from agents or editors that it needs work.

You can self publish, but keep in mind that some agents and publishers really don't want the book to be on the market brfore they accept it, since they hope to be the first to put it out.

I should warn you that very few self-pubbed books earn more than a few hundred dollars ever. Most of the self-pubbed authors I know only start to earn a good salary after publishing 10 or more novels. If you're a quick writer, great! If not, you might go the agent and print publisher route. There are exceptions, of course, but they ARE the exceptions, not the common result.

Good luck!


Getting Published or E-published

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Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of getting published through commercial publishers, ebook publishers and self-publishing I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology, acronyms and manuscript formatting. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011. I've also published short stories in multiple anthologies as well as regional and national magazines.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Books/Anthologies: Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many more. Magazines: Rocky Mountain Game & Fish, Guns & Ammo, Fur-Fish-Game, many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, 2007, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, 2006, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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