Aspiring-author Annie types “The End” on her manuscript, leans back in her desk chair, and sighs. She did it. She wrote a book. That’s quite an accomplishment—an endeavor few people see through to the end. But as Annie will soon learn, the road leading toward the Land of Published Authors is fraught with obstacles. 

Determined to join the elite ranks, Annie tucks her completed manuscript in her basket, steps onto the road, and puts one ruby-slippered foot in front of the other. Tentatively at first, but as her confidence builds, she picks up her pace, focused on her goal of finding the Great and Powerful Publisher.

Soon, she reaches a crossroads and has no idea which way to go. Luckily, a mentor steps in and guides her. But Annie quickly discovers she’ll need more than a mentor to navigate past the pesky poppy fields of the publishing world. After attending an array of writers’ conferences and enlisting the aid of a freelance editor (or two), she slings her arms through those of her critique partners and skips through the spooky forest.

As the woods deepen and the wicked witch of doubt casts a dark gloom over her, Annie slows her pace, coming to grips with the challenges standing between her and success: Agents, and Editors, and Readers, oh, my!

Finally, her goal is within sight. She steps up to the gates of the Land of Published Authors and rings the bell. When the gatekeeper pops his mustached face through the window and says, in a rather intimidating voice, “State your business,” she gulps before answering.

“I’ve come to see the Publisher.”

The gatekeeper looks aghast. “Nobody can see the Publisher!”

But Annie is determined. Besides, she’s traveled so far and worked so hard. She sucks in a deep breath and stands her ground. “I’m ready to be published!”

“Prove it!” demands the gatekeeper.

Annie digs in her basket, pulls out her completed manuscript, and thrusts it toward the gatekeeper. “I did it,” she says. “I wrote a whole book!”

The gatekeeper knows that tenacity is vital for admission to the Land of Published Authors, and he recognizes this trait in Annie. “Well, why didn’t you say so in the first place? That’s a horse of a different color!” 

As Annie tiptoes through the gates, she realizes the Land of Published Authors isn’t what she thought it would be. She encounters more gatekeepers—agents and editors—who insist on further preparation before she can see the Great and Powerful Publisher. After primping and polishing her manuscript to the point she barely recognizes her original story, she’s finally allowed to see the Publisher face to face. 

The Publisher takes a quick glance at her proposal and bellows a laugh that echoes throughout the massive chamber. “You want me to publish THIS? We don’t need any more books in that genre. You should have submitted it last week!” Then, he demands even more of her than she thought possible. “Go kill the wicked witch of doubt and bring back an enormous author platform!”

All that work. All that effort. All the fears, challenges, time, money. Wasted. If only she’d known what publishing professionals truly wanted. If only she’d known how to get past the gatekeepers. If only she’d known she was supposed to knock and not ring the doorbell. If only … 

Nearly all aspiring authors can feel Annie’s frustration. If you’ve journeyed along and followed the path, yet still find yourself struggling to get past the publishing gatekeepers, this book is for you.

In the following pages, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes peek into the Land of Published Authors. In fact, it’s not just a peek—this book will give you a guided tour. You’ll learn what agents want, how to woo readers, how to entice acquisitions editors. You’ll even discover how to win the heart of the Great and Powerful Publisher, which, just like the Wizard of Oz—spoiler alert—is a regular person. 

This book takes the combined experience of four industry professionals—an agent, a publisher, an editor, and an influencer—and walks you through how to win the heart of each gatekeeper within the Land of Published Authors. And although it may seem like each publishing professional wants something different from authors, the truth is, we all want the same things: a great book and an author with whom we can have a great relationship.

While we can’t guarantee you’ll get a publishing contract by following the advice in this book, we hope the information we’ve shared will bring you closer to your goal.