Approaching a Publisher
You’ve written your book… now what?
Your next step may be getting in touch with a publisher; depending on what route you are taking. To some, this may seem daunting and scary. However, there are some simple ways of getting it right.
1) Do your research.
2) Write an enquiry letter if required.
3) Tidy up your typescript.
4) Organise your pages.
5) Enquire and/or try again.
6) Final copies.
7) Don't let rejection beat you!
First of all, you have to do your research. You will need to research into specific publishers and their requirements. Some publishers will consider books submitted to them directly, some prefer it through an agent and some require an enquiry letter. Without doing research, you're not going to know what the publisher of your choice expects from you.
If the publishing house of your choice requires you to write an enquiry letter, there are a few ways to get it right. Don’t try too hard. It’s important to try hard but try not to make it look as though you are almost sucking up to them and what they do. Don’t make jokes; they will more than likely not find it funny and feel as though you’re being unprofessional. Don’t be aggressive with what you’re saying, be kind and friendly. Don’t email your submission; most publishers prefer to receive typescripts.
Your typescript needs to be well presented. Make sure it’s typed up on a computer, not handwritten. You need to choose good quality, white A4 paper. Be sure to use double spacing and print on only one side. Remember to leave a good margin all around the text; make the margins consistent throughout. Begin chapters on a new page and do not use blank lines between paragraphs. You must indent each paragraph a few spaces. Be consistent with all of these factors throughout your work.
As well as your typescript being well presented, it needs to be organised. To organise your pages, you need to number them from start to end. There must be a title page, showing the title of your book and your name. As well as this, add your name and address in the bottom right hand corner. When it comes to fastening everything together, don’t use pins, paper clips or staples. Put your typescript into a wallet type folder.
When waiting for a decision, the publisher may take what you think to be an abnormally long time after you’ve submitted your work. If you have heard nothing after two months, send a polite letter of enquiry. If you then still get no response, ask for your typescript back and try again with another publisher. Do not expect to be given reasons for rejection.
When your book is eventually accepted by a publisher you may be asked to do further work on it. This may include a copy-editor looking over and reviewing your work. You will see the final copy before it goes to the printer; which is almost your last chance to make any changes. You will then be sent proofs from the printer - if there are any errors from the printer they can be corrected with no charge, but altering anything else means the publisher will have to pay (or pass onto you any costs).
The most important thing to remember is to not let criticism and rejection get the best of you. You will more than likely experience rejection; every author does, but do not let it beat you. You just need to make sure you’ve got everything formatted correctly and everything is perfect before it goes to print, and your book will be the best it can be.
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