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Paths to Publication: Traditional and Small Press

This panel will discuss the current landscape of traditional publishing, how to submit your work with or without an agent, what to expect from the editorial process, and how much marketing support a small or large press should provide.

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Traditional publishers provide you with cachet, a brick-and-mortar presence, and of course, an advance. For many authors, the preferred path to publication is through one of the large houses or a respected small press, even as these paths become harder to navigate. This panel will discuss the current landscape of traditional publishing, such as how to submit your work with or without an agent, what to expect from the editorial process, and how much marketing support a small or large press should provide.


Mary Gannon, CLMP’s executive director, is a veteran nonprofit administrator with more than twenty years of experience in the literary field.  Prior to joining CLMP she served as the associate director/director of content for the Academy of American Poets for five years, where she oversaw the production of the organization’s award-winning website,, its popular Poem-a-Day series, and its Education Program, including Teach This Poem, a weekly offering that received the 2018 National Book Foundation’s Innovations in Reading Prize. She also served as editorial director of Poets & Writers, Inc., the country’s largest nonprofit organization serving poets and writers of literary prose, where she headed up Poets & Writers Magazine and Also an award-winning poet whose poems have been published widely, Mary has published numerous articles about publishing and the literary field and has profiled such notable authors as The New Yorker editor David Remnick and nonfiction writer John Haskell, fiction writers Jay McInerney and Heidi Julavits, and poets Anne Carson and Major Jackson. She is co-author with her husband, Kevin Larimer, of  The Poets & Writers Complete Guide to Being a Writer, published by Avid Reader Press in 2020.

Judy Hottensen is the Associate Publisher of Grove Atlantic, and has been working in the publishing industry for almost forty years, including at Pantheon Books, Simon and Schuster, and Weinstein Books.  She is the Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of CLMP, a nonprofit organization that works with small publishers and magazines to help them connect their writers to more readers, serving as an essential hub for nurturing community support.

Vivian Lee is a writer and senior editor at Little, Brown. Her booklist includes Matthew Salesses’ The Hundred-Year Flood and Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear (PEN/Faulkner Finalist), Viet Dinh’s After Disasters (PEN/Faulkner Finalist),  Naima Coster’s Halsey Street (Kirkus Prize Finalist), and Natalia Sylvester’s Everyone Knows You Go Home (International Latino Book Award winner in fiction). Her writing can be found at The Los Angeles Times, Eater,, Catapult, and more. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a BA in Literary Journalism and from the New School University in New York with a MFA in Creative Writing (Non-Fiction). She is a 2018 PW Rising Star Honoree. Originally from Los Angeles, she now resides in Queens. Photo credit: Brian Braganza.

Anne Trubek is the founder and director of Belt Publishing. She is the author of So You Want to Publish a Book?  A Skeptic’s Guide to Writers’ Houses, and the The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

Howard Yoon is a literary agent and principal of the Ross Yoon Agency. He started as Gail Ross’s literary assistant in 1992 and over the years has served as an editorial director, ghostwriter, foreign rights manager, book consultant, and book editor. Howard specializes in narrative nonfiction, history, memoir, science, current events, politics, and popular culture. He looks for original voices and original stories, but his favorite books are ones that combine both qualities. He specializes in helping authors find their place in the book world by bringing together his knowledge of the market with the innate skills of each client. He loves working with first-time authors as equally as he enjoys helping veteran writers with career decisions and new book ideas. Howard has been an adjunct professor at the Masters of Journalism program at Georgetown University, where he has won awards teaching a narrative nonfiction writing class. He was a former contributor to’s food blog, “Kitchen Window.” He currently serves as the board chair of 826DC, the DC chapter of a nonprofit founded by novelist Dave Eggers to support public school students in areas of creative writing, reading, and learning.

Jane Friedman (moderator) has nearly 25 years of experience in the publishing industry. She writes and publishes The Hot Sheet, an industry newsletter for authors, which was named 2020 Media Outlet of the Year by Digital Book World.

Special Thanks to Our Supporters and Partner Organizations

With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Penguin Random House, and our donors, the Authors Guild Foundation is pleased to make Business Bootcamps for Writers free and open to the public.

Several writers organizations have partnered with the Authors Guild Foundation to help shape these programs. Our deepest appreciation to these organizations.

Additional Resources from the Panelists

Jane Friedman:

Jane Friedman’s recommended resources:

  • The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry
  • Agents & Books newsletter by Kate McKean
  • QueryTracker to research agents and learn what’s happening with submissions at specific agencies (statistics on rejections, acceptance rates, response times, and more)

Mary Gannon:

Vivian Lee:

Anne Trubek: