Self-published author Polly Courtney recently blogged that, after giving a five-hour talk on the benefits of publishing books independently and how to do so professionally, she's often asked the question, "So, how do I get a traditional deal?" We couldn't help but smile when we read that, because it's a scenario we're pretty familiar with.
The thing is, we get it. After all, we both got our start in traditional publishing, so we're well aware of the "cachet" that landing a publisher can bring. We know the benefits of being signed by a traditional house, and we also know the limitations. However, instead of expounding the virtues of self-publishing here (you can go to our "Why Self-Publish?" page for that), we thought we'd acknowledge those of you who want to try your hand at the traditional route before going the self-publishing one, and provide resources that can propel you on your way.
So, if you've done the work required to make your book as polished as possible (because as journalist and writer Suw Charman-Anderson points out, "the less work an agent or publisher thinks a manuscript needs, the more positively they will view it"), and you're interested in seeing if you can land an agent or a traditional publishing contract, then the Association of Canadian Publishers' website is a great place to start. There you'll find information on everything from writing a letter of inquiry to establishing your credibility, as well as a comprehensive list of Canadian publishing houses, their contact information, and the kinds of books they publish.
If you don't end up fulfilling your dream of publishing traditionally, the good news is that there's never been as much opportunity as there is today for authors to self-publish and connect with readers. The world is your oyster.