How to Get a Play Published

By Lillian Downey

  • Overview

    Getting your work published is a difficult task for any writer, but it can be especially daunting when your writing is meant to grace a stage rather than be still on a page. There are ways to get your play published, as evidenced by the plays you probably have on your bookshelf.
    How to Get a Play Published
    • Step 1

      Consult a book called "Screenwriter and Playwright's Market." This book lists almost all of the places in the United States and Canada that publish plays. Find a market you wish to submit to, and follow the exact instructions in the editorial guidelines. Unless it specifically says to send your complete play as one manuscript, do not do so. Most publishers like a sample or an outline first to determine if they are interested in your project.
    • Step 2

      Look at the published plays you have on your bookshelf. Flip to the copyright page and find out where they were published. Research the publisher and find out how to submit your play for consideration. Go to the bookstore or library and find more plays that are similar to the style of your play, and research their publishers as well.


    • Step 3

      Enter your play into a contest. "The Screenwriter and Playwright's Market" has an exhaustive list of contests that can lead to publication. Contests are a great way to get experienced professionals to read your work. If you win, your play may be published or even performed.
    • Step 4

      Publish your play yourself. There are many places online that can help you publish your own play. Make sure to do your homework before self-publishing to avoid any scams or hidden fees. There are various kinds of self-publishing with varying fee structures. If you want your play read, you will have to do an extensive amount of self-marketing.
    • Skill: Moderately Challenging
    • Tip: When at all possible, talk to a real person to negotiate publishing deals.Always strictly adhere to a publisher's editorial and submission guidelines.
    • Warning:
    • Go over any contract with a fine-tooth-comb to make sure all fees are negotiated up front.

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