Are you a first time author who can’t get a foot in the door of publishers?

If you’ve published books previously, it’s much easier to get your book concept under editorial consideration than if you are a first time author. It’s a catch-22; or is it?

How can you jump the high hurdle of being a first-time author?

Build a publication record.

Just because you haven’t published a book before, doesn’t mean that you can’t get published. Magazines and newspapers will publish excerpts or short pieces. Anthologies, journals and quarterlies also offer authors venues to prove their writing is worth publishing. Publishers want to see that you can write well enough to get published.

The best desk reference to selling what you write is Writer’s Market (Ed. Robert Lee Brewer, Writer’s Digest Press). The 90th anniversary edition for 2011 offers updated listings for consumer magazines, trade journals and contests and awards. It offers tips to break in to a specific market, submission requirements and contact information.

There is more to Writer’s Market than listings. In the front of the book are articles providing professional tips and advice. From pay rate charts to the Query Letter Clinic, this one book has the resources every writer needs at her or his fingertips.

Acquisition editors look at your publication record. If there are no previous books, what else have you written, published or sold? Do you have a blog with extraordinary visitor stats? There are ways to overcome the “first time author” handicap for your book concept.

In so doing, your writing improves. You learn to work with editors to improve your own copy. Like playing the piano, writing requires practice, rehearsal and performance. And as your writing improves, so does the likelihood of your book being published.

Build a clip portfolio of your published short works as evidence of your professional writing skills. With a great book concept, you can jump that hurdle with publishers if you have a publication record.