Navigating the world of publishing on your own is difficult. So don’t do it on your own. Get help.
I’ve found the writing community to be extremely supportive, and there are a lot of great resources out there to help you with everything from planning your novel to getting it published and beyond. If you need some support, here’s a list of sites you should check out.
Meetup: This website helps you find groups that meet in real life. It’s not focused on writing, but there are a lot of critique groups and book clubs.
Absolute Write: I love this site. There are discussions on every writing-related topic you could think of, password-protected places where you can post your query or samples of your manuscript to get feedback, places where you can look for beta readers and offer to beta read for others, and threads dedicated to making sure agents and publishers are legit before you submit to them. It’s a great site for all writers, whether they’re just beginning or have a long list of published works. Editors and agents also frequent the site.
SCBWI: I only recently joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and I should have joined it earlier. There are conferences, local meetings and events, critique groups, online resources, awards, and more for people who write or illustrate for children. An annual membership fee is required.
Literary Rambles: This site focuses on children’s books and publishing. There are author interviews and book giveaways, and the agent spotlight is a great way to find and learn more about agents who represent children’s literature.
Query Shark: This blog dissects queries. Submit your own or just read through other writers’ queries and learn.
Query Tracker: This site lets you search for agents and manage your queries. You can use the regular service for free or upgrade to the premium service.