5 Tips for Getting Your Memoir Published in 2016

by Pamela Jane on November 10, 2015

Writing Prompt LogoPost #229 – Women’s Memoirs, Writing Prompt – Matilda Butler Welcomes Pamela Jane

Question: Want to Get Published in 2016?

Answer: Yes. Then Check Out Pamela Jane’s 5 Great Tips

Pamela Jane sees the world in terms of tips, or at least that’s the way it seems. I love how she distills information and experiences and provides readers with terrific tips. If you are moving forward with your memoir and hope to get published in 2016, then be sure to read this article.

Pamela Jane

Five Tips for Getting Published in 2016

Pamela Jane

book_penThis is the first of a two-part series on strategies for publishing your memoir.  In this post, we’ll examine ways to find an agent or publisher, while December’s post will focus on new developments in the rapidly-expanding field of self-publishing.

Finding an agent or a publisher for your memoir can be a daunting task, but not an impossible one!  Assuming you have revised and polished your memoir to the best of your ability, following are five tips to help you get your book into print and to your readers:

1.  Agents online

There are several online resources for finding agents, but I have found AgentQuery by far to be the best.  As AgentQuery writes on its website:

“AgentQuery.com offers one of the largest searchable databases of literary agents on the web—a treasure trove of reputable, established literary agents seeking writers just like you…”

AgentQuery has recently expanded the website to include success stories, including successful queries, so it truly is a treasure trove of information and resources.  You can do a quick search, or a full (more detailed) search on the website for memoir agents.  You will be able to see what a partciular agent is looking for, his or her specific interests or tastes, as well as exactly what to submit (query, synopsis, sample chapters) and how to submit.  Many agents accept queries via email.  The website also features formatting tips and a free RSS feed for agent updates.

2.  Books listing literary agents

My two favorites are Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents (the 2016 issue is now available) and Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents: Who They Are, What They Want, How to Win Them Over.  These books are overflowing with information to help you in preparing your manuscript, and finding an agent or a publisher.

3.  Small and University Presses

You can Google small and university presses and search for current listings; an excellent one I found recently is published by NewPages.  The current year’s listing of Writer’s Digest Writer’s Market also lists dozens of small and university presses.

4. Writer’s Conferences and Workshops

By attending a writer’s conference or workshop you not only get a chance to chat with or pitch to agents and editors, but the opportunity to have your work considered by them (in other words leap over the you-have-to-find-an-agent-to get a publisher-but-you-need-to-be-a-published-author-to-secure-an-agent conundrum). Here are a just a few listings of conferences I found online; you can find many more.

ShawGuides to Writing Conferences and Workshops

National Association of Memoir Writers

5.  Do Not Give Up

This tip is the most important of all. Do not give up.  This must become your mantra!  If you can’t find an agent, find a small publisher, and if you can’t find a small publisher, consider self-publishing.  Choosing one of those things to pursue doesn’t mean you can’t simultaneously pursue the others.

Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney starred in a series of films about kids bringing their show to Broadway

Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney starred in a series of films about kids bringing their show to Broadway

There’s an old Midwestern saying:  “It’s one thing to put on a church musical, it’s another to bring it to Broadway.”  Bright lights and fame are seductive, but the good news is that today there are more stages or venues than ever before to see your memoir in print.

Don’t forget to check back next month for the latest information and news on self-publishing, and my interview with author Angela M. Sanders.

Pamela Jane is the author of over twenty-five children’s books. Her new Christmas book, Little Elfie One (HarperCollins, illustrated by NY Times best-selling illustrator, Jane Manning) has just been released.

Here’s a review from Booklist:

In recent years, many picture books have used the structure, rhythm, and cadence of the old counting rhyme beginning “Over in the meadow,” but few writers have come up with a version that works as well as this cheerful text… A magical visit to Santa’s home base on Christmas Eve.”—Booklist

Pamela’s book for adults with co-author Deborah Guyol, Pride and Prejudice and Kitties: A Cat-Lover’s Romp Through Jane Austen Classic was featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Booklist and BBC America, and has just been released in paperback.  Pamela has published essays and short stories in “The Antigonish Review,” “The Philadelphia Inquirer,” and “Literary Mama.”

Her memoir, An Incredible Talent for Existing:  A Writer’s Story will be out in February 2016.

Pamela Jane Memoir Cover[UPDATE: Pamela Jane's memoir is now available for pre-release purchase. Be among the first to get your copy. Just click on this link.]

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Matilda Butler November 12, 2015 at

Pamela: Thanks for the article. You’ve provided a lot of details as well as great resources.

Special thanks for #5. It is so easy to finally get up one’s courage to send out a query letter to an agent or a publisher, hear nothing back, and assume there’s no chance to get published. We all need to take to heart your advice: “Do not give up.”

Henia August 8, 2016 at

Thanks for these practical tips. Especially where to go to find literary agents.

Pamela Jane August 9, 2016 at

Henna: thanks for your comment! I will most likely do an update on how to find agents in future “Dear Pamela” posts.

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