How to Find a Publisher and Get Your First Book Published
Many believe that writing is the hardest part of creating a book, but this is not the case. Many overlook the salient process of finding an efficient and effective publisher for getting a book published. Learning how to successfully get your book published is not an easy task; it is incredibly complex. However, with the right guidelines and steps, it can be a smooth journey. Seeking the perfect publisher for your book requires considerable patience. Once you find a suitable publisher for yourself, it will still take months or maybe even a year before your book reaches the shelves!This article will detail a step-by-step process through which you can get closer to getting your book published. So, if you have been asking yourself the question of “how do I get a book published,” then keep reading!
Paths to Getting Published
There are three primary routes to follow regarding how to get books published. Because this process requires in-depth research and long hours as well as negotiations, people tend to turn to self-publishing. This allows the author to act as his/her own publisher and rely one one’s own resources to publish a book. If you are interested in self-publishing, then look here to find the best ways to self-publish your book.The second option is to find a publisher suitable for you and your book. This search is most definitely worth your while. If you are looking for success and triumph, then the resources that a publisher can provide you are incomparable. This process is relatively simple, but you will be required to sell the rights to your book to the publisher.The third route is to get published through publishing companies. In this, you have to pay the publishing house to publish your manuscript. You will have some of the best editors, marketing experts and sales points at your disposal.
Significant Steps for How to Get a Book Published
You have finally completed the last page of your novel, and now you cannot wait for your audience to read the book! There is one obstacle in your way, and that is how to get published. When seeking a publisher, it is important to keep in mind that no matter how exciting and exemplary your writing is, the publishers only want one thing: money! A traditional publisher will only be interested in investing time and money in your manuscript if they believe that it has the potential to sell.Therefore, you will need to switch roles from a writer to a salesperson if you want your book to sell. Follow these six constructive steps on how to get a book published, and you will be a famous author in no time!
Research the genre of your novel
First and foremost, you must establish what your writing style is. Is it fiction or non-fiction? This is essential because, when it comes to publishing, the publishing process for fiction differs greatly from that of non-fiction writing.
Fiction novels vs. non-fiction books
The main difference between fiction and non-fiction is the writing style. While fiction has no boundaries, non-fiction does.
In the case of fiction novels, it is advised that writers first complete their manuscripts and then begin with the publishing process. This way the concept of the entire book can be outlined for the publisher, thus making it easier to make an appropriate decision. Perfect your work in its final stages. Take the time to proofread it and have other writers review and critique it. Put your best foot forward when it comes to approaching a publisher. You need to exert yourself in selling it to them, and that is only possible if you provide them with perfection.Some popular genres that publishers are keen to work with include young adult books, romance, erotica, women’s fiction books, historical fiction, mystery, crime, thriller as well as science fiction and fantasy. However, keep in mind that when writing a work of fiction, you must make sure that there is high marketability potential for your idea to get a publisher to buy your manuscript.
On the other hand, when it comes to non-fiction books, you do not have to complete the entire writing process before submitting it to a traditional publisher. Instead, detail a book proposal that lets the publisher know where your work is headed. If your thoughts seem appealing to the publisher, he will then purchase the book based on the proposal, and you will continue your work until it is complete. When writing a non-fiction book for a traditional publisher, ensure that you are providing them with top quality work because that is what matters above all other components.Non-fiction work tends to fall into two major categories. These are perspective which includes educational and informational writing and narrative which includes memoirs. Amazon is a great platform to explore in terms of non-fiction genre types.
Some styles of writing are not always well received by publishers. These are considered harder to sell and are possibly then viewed as riskier investments. The following are some examples:
- A book which is 120,000 words or more
- A collection of poetry, short stories or other more concise forms of content
- Memoirs that follow a mainstream storyline
- Experimental fiction and literary fiction
Finding a Suitable Publisher for Your Book
The next step of your journey in how to get a book published is to find and approach publishers. Research which publishers may be willing to buy your work. This part can be extremely tricky. An estimated 80% of writers in traditional genres only find a publisher if they have a well-connected agent working on their behalf. So, first of all, you have to decide whether or not you need to hire an agent to promote your book.It is not a question of taking the time to find an agent for your manuscript, but rather how you approach a literary agent. Many websites and platforms link you to hardworking and well-connected agents familiar with the ins and outs of the publishing industry. So, dip your toes in the water and see what these platforms have in store for you! It is important to remember that although literary agents will help you secure a spot in the publishing industry, they will not do so for free. Usually, literary agents request up to 15% commission for each deal.
Top 5 Popular Publisher and Agent Platforms
To make things easier for you, here is a list of some of the best platforms to find the most influential publishers and agents in the publishing industry:
- AgentQuery – Authors can contact some of the best-known agents to get their book published through this online platform. It lists more than a thousand agents as well as other useful resources for the writer.
- Writer’s Market – This website and its online platform provide writers with a list of more than 1000 competent and efficient publishers as well as literary writers.
- Publishers Marketplace – Make the most of a great deal or package through this website. It offers a space through which you can gain access to many resources, publishers, and agents.
- QueryTracker – This online resource is entirely free to use, and you can access more than 200 well-known publishers and thousands of helpful agents.
- Duotrope – Although this is a paid platform, many people believe that it is one of the best databases for finding the most suitable traditional publisher and agent for you.
Material for Submission to Publishers
When you are finally able contact an agent and a publisher, you will be required to submit multiple documents. The manuscript is not the only thing that you will be asked for. The required documentation may vary from publisher to publisher, but most traditional publishers require the following:
- Query letter
- Synopsis of the novel/book/manuscript
- Book proposal for non-fiction books
- Sample chapters
Many believe that the book or novel is the most crucial component of getting a publisher on board with your idea, but this is not so. The most important document that the publisher will look at before purchasing your novel is the query letter. This is a short, straight to the point, one-page letter. This letter usually is not more than 300 words, so you are limited in what you can write. It should entice your publisher and make him/her inclined to request a manuscript. Here are some pointers to keep in mind while writing a query letter to a potential publisher or agent.
- Start the letter with a personalized opening or greeting. Make sure to use the publisher or agent’s first name to give it a more personalized impression.
- Use short paragraphs and short sentences wherever it is possible because the main point of this letter is to keep it concise and straight to the point.
- Mirror the language of your novel/book in the query letter.
- If professional editors have read your book, make sure to incorporate that into the letter.
- Do not hand-write your query letter as this appears unprofessional. Additionally, ensure that even while typing the letter, you use simple, basic fonts instead of fancy, illegible font styles.
- Avoid overselling your book; do not make use of flowery language to the extent that you overemphasize the quality of the book. Keep things simple and concise. Incorporate the main idea of the book and what the potential of the book. Leave it up to the publishers to attach adjectives to the novel/book.
Synopsis of the book
The synopsis of the book or novel is your opportunity to briefly explain to the publisher the plot. It is a quick overview of the storyline of your creation. The synopsis that you send to the publisher or agent should not be longer than a page or two. It is essential to include the ending of the story as well. It may be a spoiler, but the publishers require a complete summary of your writing.
If you are a writer of a non-fiction book, then writing a book proposal of 15-20 pages is a requirement. Normally, writers in the field of non-fiction do not have to submit the complete book. Instead, they are expected to complete it as the work goes on.Some common information required for a book proposal are:Competitive Title Analysis – This section aims to propose potential book titles for your manuscripts. Additionally, it discusses how to make your title stand out from other books on the market. While listing other competitive titles, you must include:
- the title
- year of publication
- page count
- the ISBN of the book
Target Audience – In this segment of the book proposal, a writer shall identify their target audience and its demographics. This includes an in-depth analysis of the demographics and psychographics of the target audience as well as their buying patterns. It is not necessary to include precise statistics here. However, the writer must give their reasoning as to why they believe that the target audience will be compelled to purchase the book.Marketing Plan – This should include long-term and short-term strategies to help promote your book in the market. Making use of an external source for information regarding the marketing of a book is always a beneficial idea. Moreover, this involves a SWOT analysis and other components that will convince potential customers to purchase your book.Author Bio – This is a short description of and by the author so that the publishers and agents can get to know the individual.
A publisher or agent will require a few sample chapters of your work to get a sense of your writing style and your work. Make sure to send them chapters from the beginning of the book, especially in the case of a non-fiction book. If you write works of fiction, sending a chapter from the middle of the book is also acceptable as, in fictional writing, you have the option to pick and choose.
Submitting your documents
The final step in the process of how to get your book published is to submit your documents. Once your documentation is complete, put it in a stamped envelope and mail it to the agents. Then, wait a few weeks for a response.At this stage, you can expect one of three main responses. You may receive no response at all which usually means that either there was something wrong with the query or it is an overall rejection. The second type of response is a request for a manuscript or sample chapters. This is a great response for a writer. The last response is a request for the entire manuscript of the book; this, too, is a great sign for the writer. However, the publisher can still reject your ideas after reading the manuscripts, so do not get your hopes up.
The task of getting a publisher should seem less daunting if you have worked hard. Traditional publishing will grant you unlimited resources, marketing and a great rate for your work. However, if you do not want to rely on traditional publishing, there are other ways to publish your work. Self-publishing or publishing through a publishing house are some alternative routes to getting a book or a novel published.