Every writer who has a book to his or her credit seeks one question: How do I get my book published? Book publishing is a rough business, and getting a book published is just as difficult as churning a best seller. Although there are many publishing platforms for writers to come out and reach their audience, pitching traditional publishers is the most sought after one.
Although the traditional book publishing process is very straightforward and can be broken down to a neat five-phase process, publishing success can be guaranteed only when the process is followed diligently and patiently.
Here are the five steps of getting your book published:
1. Research the Publishers:
Once you have a book ready for publication, start collecting information about potential publishers. Remember, not all publishers publish the same kind of books. You must be able to discern the genre of your book- whether it is a fiction, non-fiction, poetry, graphic novel, academic journal, doctoral dissertation, or a book on any other niche subject.
You must look for publishers of your discipline and if you aren’t sure whether a publisher accepts a particular genre or not, refer to their website, newsletter or past titles to have a clear insight into their publishing tastes. It is a good idea to sign up their mailing list, follow them on social networking sites, and read their newsletters to get an insight into their role in the market and their publishing policies. Attend literary and publishers meet in your city to learn about the ongoing publishing trends and people behind the bestsellers.
2. Prepare your Manuscript according to the Publishers’ Submission guidelines
Once you have a comprehensive list of publishers who publish the kind of book you have written, it is time to explore them and learn about their submission guidelines and prepare your manuscript accordingly. You can find the submission guidelines mentioned on the publishers’ websites, in case there are not any, feel free to request the publishing house for submission guidelines.
If you have more than a book of different genres to be submitted for publication, make sure you follow the submission guidelines for the same genre. While some publishers may want a chapter or two of your novel written double or single spaced and well formatted as per APA guidelines, others may like it some other way. Follow the guidelines strictly to avoid rejection.
The method of submission also varies from publisher to publisher. While some publishing houses accept both electronic and post submissions, others accept manuscripts only through snail mail. Similarly, it is important to keep note of publishing houses that accept or do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.
Some publishing houses accept submissions only through agents and in this case, you must hire a literary agent to pitch your book to the publishing houses.
3. Learn to Pitch:
If you want to be published by publishing houses that do not accept unsolicited manuscripts, you need to hire a literary agent who can help you through the process. Mind, hiring a literary agent is not like hiring a caterer for a party, it is a difficult task in itself, of course, depending on who you are and how your writing proposal is.
The process of hiring an agent involves writing a query letter (learn to write one) and a book proposal and sending it over to as many literary agents till you find one who is ready to represent your work. Once you have an agent who helps you draft an acceptable book proposal, your book proposal will be sent to publishers by your agent.
4. Keep a Record, follow up and Reply:
Since you will be sending your book proposals to many publishers, it is mandatory to keep a record. Keep a detailed list of the publishers to whom you send your manuscript or excerpt, the dates on which the proposal or excerpt was sent and the names of contact persons. Follow up after approximately three months unless stated otherwise. You must also keep track of all rejections and responses you get in the course of time for future reference.
It is important to develop an on-going relationship with any person from a publishing house who is in your contact.
5. Accept the Contract, Understand the Terms and Conditions, and Hire a Lawyer:
Once a publisher accepts your proposal, you will receive terms and conditions of the contract, deadline of submitting your entire manuscript and all other legal details of the agreement. Hire a lawyer or any other professional who can help you review the contract offered. If there are any issues, which are not addressed in the contract, feel free to call the editor’s desk and clarify.
Once you sign the contract, you have to be available to answer queries and provide revisions as needed throughout the editing process