Writers' How-to Series

Like all business, getting published is a complex undertaking. To provide guidance to writers on getting published (traditional and self-published), navigating relationships with agents and editors, and understanding the business of writing (taxes, archives, literary estates), the Union has created a series of How-to guides available for purchase (or free for members).
Explore the Writers’ How-to Series.

Get Help Reviewing Your Manuscript

You have a story to tell and words to share, and you’re looking to have them published. For help polishing your manuscript before you submit it, consider a professional evaluation of your work through the Union’s Manuscript Evaluation Service.
Learn more about the Manuscript Evaluation Service.


Have a story to tell but not sure if you’re best suited to write it? Consider hiring a ghostwriter.

How to Find the Right Publisher for Your Manuscript

The Traditional Route:

Getting your manuscript published by a traditional publisher takes time and can be challenging, so it’s important to take the time to carefully choose which ones to approach. The Union’s Directory of Canadian Publishers (DCP) is a searchable listing of Canadian publishers that accept unsolicited manuscripts that lists what kind of work they are currently considering.

If you are approaching traditional publishers, take time in the preparation of your query/cover letter: Remember that it will be the first sample of your work that a publisher will see. When submitting a manuscript to multiple publishers, it is courteous to take the following steps:

  • In your query/cover letter to each publisher, state that it is a multiple submission. You do not have to indicate the names of the other publishers to whom you have submitted the manuscript.
  • You must give each publisher a reasonable period to consider the manuscript, and a deadline should be stated in your letter. We suggest three months.
  • You must not accept an offer from any other publisher until after the deadline has passed or without giving the other publishers the opportunity to make a counter-offer.

How to Self-Publish Your Manuscript

If you are considering self-publishing, either in print or electronic form, the Union’s How to Self-Publish booklet covers the how and why of self-publishing, from editing and design to distribution and marketing. It includes information suitable for authors with both unpublished and previously published materials.
Get a copy of How to Self-Publish.

Looking for an Agent

It can be as difficult to find a literary agent as it can be to find a publisher. In the past, many writers have chosen self-representation as a means to publishing. For those seeking an agent, the Union has these resources:

You’ve Been Offered a Contract

Congratulations on your contract offer! This is a huge achievement. But before you open the champagne and sign on the dotted line, you must ensure that you understand the contract terms and that you are comfortable with anything you sign. Don’t forget that contracts are negotiable – the clauses can, and generally should, be changed. And a reminder that a reputable company should give you time to review any contract with a lawyer.

More Questions?

Wondering how to get started? What is an SASE? How to retain copyright? Interested in seeking financial assistance to write? Check out our FAQs to find these answers and more.

Directory of Resources

Lists of writing-related organization, government agencies, Canadian literary festivals and reading series, mentorship programs across Canada, legal organizations that provide free assistance to writers, and self-published book awards.

Explore our directory of resources.