Getting published: novels

Getting a novel out there takes a lot of skill, luck and perseverance. Here are a few tips to help you along the way.

Is my novel ready to submit?

Publishers and agents want to be able to consider a completed novel so don’t approach any until you have finished the story and polished the writing.

Do I need an agent?

Most (but not all) publishers will only accept novel submissions from agents. You can normally find out whether publishers accept unsolicited submissions via their websites or their listings on sites like Writers & Artists. Found one that accepts submissions directly? Our advice for submitting to publishers might help.

How do I get an agent?

There’s no magic answer here, but there are some things you can do to increase your chances. Check out our tips for submitting to an agent.

How long should a novel be?

Working out how long a novel should be is really based on the story. That said, if you’re a debut novelist, many publishers prefer a conservative wordcount of around 90,000.

How can I improve my chances of getting a novel published?

Writing the best possible book you can is the most important thing, but you may improve your chances by:

Who else can help?

Here are a few organisations that may be useful:

Society of Authors

Writers' Services

NAWE: The Writer’s Compass

ScottishPEN

Edinburgh City of Literature

Publishing Scotland

Creative Scotland