Free Library of Philadelphia
1.  How do I get my book published?

Publishers vary in their submission requirements, so it is important to research who will accept what, and how it needs to be submitted. The librarians in the Literature Department recommend the following sources:

  • The Writer's Market This annual publication not only lists publishers, their requirements and subject areas, but also includes valuable information on how to present your manuscript and what to expect.
  • The Literary Market Place This annual publication lists publishers as well as contests, writers' conferences, workshops, fellowships and grants.
  • How to Write a Book Proposal The recommendations in this book provide a definite, specific method for preparing a proposal for nonfiction subjects.

The Internet provides numerous sites on how to publish, the majority of which deal primarily with self-publishing. The following sites provide useful tips on getting published:

For additional information, please call the Literature Department at 215-686-5402.

2.  Where can I find information about literary agents?

Having a literary agent can be the key to getting published. Locating and selecting one can be difficult. The Literature Department suggests the following sources:

  • Guide to Literary Agents This annual publication covers many basic questions as well as providing a listing of agents and publicists.
  • Writer's Guide to Book Editors, Publishers and Literary Agents This annual focuses primarily on U.S. agents and publishers and includes a good selection of websites.
  • Literary Market Place This is an annual publication that lists the most active agents in the field.

There are many websites dealing with literary agents. Some you may want to try are:

For additional information please call the Literature Department at 215-686-5402.

3.  Where can I find information about films and actors?

Films and actors are a source of fascination to many people. The Literature Department has several books and sites to recommend for quick bits of information.

  • Time Out Film Guide Includes photos, obituaries as well as some reviews
  • Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide This annual is a broad chronicle of movies past and present.
  • Tla Video & DVD Guide: the discerning film lover's guide This is an annual that includes pricing, some photos and theme indexes.

Some of the librarians' favorite web sites include:

For additional information please call the Literature Department at 215-686-5402.

4.  How can I find the origin of a specific word or phrase?

The Literature Department owns dictionaries which can help: Random House HistoricalDictionary of American Slang A-O (427.973 R159h), Picturesque Expressions (423.1 P589e), Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition (423 Ox2e), and The Dictionary ofAmerican Regional English (427.973 D561o) are a few outstanding examples. One online source is oxfordreference.com. On this site, click on "English Language Reference", and then "The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology".

For further information please contact the Literature Department at 215-686-5402.

5.  Where can I find basic information on a particular author and his or her works?
The Literature Department can help you find basic information on a particular author and his or her works. The Dictionary of Literary Biography ( a multi-volumed work in the Department) Contemporary Literary Criticism (809 C767L), 20th Century LiteraryCriticism (809.04 T918L), 19th Century Literary Criticism (809.034 N622L), LiteraryCriticism from 1400-1800 (809.03 L712c), and Classical and Medieval LiteratureCriticism (809.005 C569a) are solid starting points. For electronic resources click on "Advanced Search", and then "Contempory Authors Gale", or "Literature Resource Center". For additional information please contact the Literature Department at 215-686-5402.
6.  Which sources list writing workshops and schools for writers?

Interested in a writing workshop or a school for writers? The Literature Department has sources to help. AWP Official Guide to Writing Programs (808.042 A18o), Writer's Market (029.6 W938), Poet's Market (808.02 P752m), Novel and Short Story Writer's Market (808.02 N857a) are helpful. Online sources include:

www.awpwriter.org , www.writersonlineworkshops.com , www.writing-world.com and www.asja.org .

For additional information please contact the Literature Department at 215-686-5402.

7.  How do I find the origin of a word or phrase?

The Literature Department owns dictionaries which can help: Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang (427.973 R159h), Picturesque Expressions (423.1 P589e), Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition (423 Ox2e), and The Dictionary of American Regional English (427.923 D561o) are a few outstanding examples. One online source is: www.oxfordreference.com . On this site, click on "English Language Reference", and then "The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology".

For further information, please contact the Literature Department at 215-686-5402.