How the hell does a person find a publisher?

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Kaspar Hauser
How the hell does a person find a publisher?

Well, I've gone and written a book.  The working title is Mythic Trauma: Mortality Terror in Modern Capitalism.  I've got at least one decent review...Bruce Alexander, the psychologist who wrote The Globalization of Addiction, really likes it and will put his approval in writing.  Now comes the hard part...does anyone have any advice on how to find a publisher or how to persuade a publisher to publish a newbie's book? 


Wow - congratulations Michael! I have no clue about publishing, but I'm sure others here will. Hurry up, because it's next on my reading list!


Refuge Refuge's picture

Congratulations.  You might want to try the Canadian Writers Market book.  My friend got it at chapters.  Lots of publishing info in there.


Lots of information on this site about going indie vs corporate:

Look for the DIY book publishing links.  I bought a lot of Munroe's fiction and the books were really good.  In this way you would control the book, too.  Missing, however, is the cachet of "getting published."  

Or go to the library and check out the latest Canadian Writers Market which exhaustively lists current publishers, what they publish, guidelines, etc. 

Target the most likely publishers, then start writing queries, sending mss, and waiting.



From the title, it sounds like an "academic" or scholarly book.  If it has the usual apparatus--footnotes, bibliography, etc.--you could approach some university presses: U of Toronto, McGill-Queen's, UBC.  Then you could try places like U of Waterloo....Send them a chapter outline and a sample chapter or two, and see what they say.  If this fails, you could try Captus Press (  They publish small runs of books at no charge to you (or at least they used to).  I wouldn't bother with the large trade publishers, but perhaps one of the smaller commercial houses would be interested.  Good luck...


I had the same question a couple of weeks ago from a friend. "Writer" provided me this useful link:

Writers' Union - Literary agents


Kaspar Hauser

Thank you, everyone. 


Judging by the quality of the superbly written articles you've posted here and at The Republic, it sounds like something I'd like to read.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Start with the Writers Guild of Canada.  Might not be a bad idea to join.


this doesnt really deal much with your specific question...but on the topic in general..

honestly, i think 20th century institutions like publishing houses and even bookstores are rapidly going the future, i think, the trick to getting read will be to self-publish on the internet...getting paid will be even a bigger trick...

just thinking along these lines because of the demise of local indie-lit stalwarts Glad Day and This Aint The Rosedale Library...

i mean, the internet is even changing the way we read...books themselves may go kaput...most of the reading i do nowadays is byte-sized...a full 250-450 pages?...meh...


Continued thread drift/Ms. C. and I each read between 100-120 books per year/end continued thread drift


good...glad to hear it...i like thread's pretty moribund around here, so hey - why not?


Ok, so I'm not in the States, but I presume there is the equivalent there of 'the Writers and Artists Year Book' which lists pretty much every publisher and agent. You then sift through it and see which publishers and agents are likely to be interested in your book.

Since Bruce Alexander gave your book the thumbs up, why not ask him for a recommendation of either an agent or publisher?

Most publishers don't touch unsolicited manuscripts for months, they lie there in the slush pile, if they even accept them at all. Which leaves most writers with the option of having to get an agent first and then that agent will try to get you a publisher...however, from what I've read getting an agent is pretty hard too.

But, I would nevertheless start there. So, firstly get a list of agents that deal with your subject matter. Then find out the name of the person you would be sending some sample pages to (rather than writing Dear Sir/Madam), make sure you have a well-written synopsis of the content of the book. And also put into your query letter a little about you and any previous publications or writing experience. Put this all into a letter, send it off to some agents, wait for weeks for possible 'thank you for your submission, but we don't feel it is a project that is right for us at the moment' standard rejection letters, and then do the whole process over and over again until one day, someone will publish it!

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

PublishAmerica had promised that, for $49, it would “bring your book to the attention of Harry Potter’s author next week while our delegation is in her hometown, and ask her to read it and to tell us and you what she thinks. Tell her what you think: in the Ordering Instructions box write your own note for JK Rowling, max. 50-100 words. We will include your note in our presentation for her!”

PublishAmerica Responds To Rowling Lawyer: You Can’t Keep Us From Her House


have you considered self-publishing in E-form?  Check out


this may be a wave of the future for writers...