9 Tips For Getting Your Book Published
You don’t have to be the world’s best writer to land a publishing contract.
You don’t even need a University degree.
What you do need is a manuscript that will sell
This, and knowledge of how to submit your book to publishers like a professional.
We can’t help you with the first condition, but trust you have handled that yourself. What we can do is explain the steps you should take to send your book to a publisher without looking like an amateur.
Because publishers and literary agents receive so many manuscripts, they have a precise method of receiving submissions. This is a filtering system that separates professional writers from amateurs. Even if you’ve written a book that will sell, it may never get read if you don’t follow industry protocol.
1. Research the market
Before you start writing your book, research the market and assess the competition. If your book idea is already part of a saturated market, you have to determine whether you have anything new to say otherwise you are wasting your time. First time writers typically need a unique idea or have a ready-made audience that are likely to buy your book.
2. Join a writing critique group
Feedback is critical when writing a book. This is the case whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction. You need honest opinions from others to determine how the general public will receive your work and also to guide you towards writing the best book you can.
3. Complete your book
Publishers will not accept proposals from unknown writers unless you are writing a non-fiction book. The best option is to write the manuscript in its entirety then hire an editor or ghost writer to freshen it up and prepare it for publication.
4. Consider hiring a professional editor
Manuscripts that are saddled with spelling and grammar errors have ‘amateur’ written all over it and are most likely to be rejected. If you’ve invested time to write a book, it’s in your best interests to invest a little money to have it edited by a professional. If you insist on editing the book yourself, print your work out. It’s easier to spot errors on paper than it is on a computer screen.
5. Research appropriate publishers and literary agents
Publishers and literary agents typically target specific genres so do your research and only approach publishing houses that will be interested in the genre you are writing for. It’s also worth noting that established publishers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Therefore, your best option is to approach a literary agent first. However, small independent publishers usually accept unsolicited manuscripts and are well worth considering.
6. Send a query letter
Most publishers and agents will ask to see some sample chapters of your book. However, the postage costs can become expensive. To save yourself time and money, consider sending a query letter to test the water first.
7. Appear professional
Professional submissions that meet industry standards are more likely to be read. When approaching a publishing house or literary agent you should:
i. Write a cover letter
ii. Send in a synopsis
iii. Check the submission guidelines; only send a sample of your book that has been asked for, this is usually the first two or three chapters
iv. Enclose a stamped-addressed envelope so your manuscript can be returned
v. Double space the text on your manuscript
vi. Number the pages in the top right or bottom right corner
vii. Send the manuscript on loose A4 white paper and black ink. Do not staple pages together, although you can attach a paperclip
viii. The font should be 12pt Times New Roman, Courier New or Arial
ix. Send submissions by first-class post. Do not use a delivery service such as Parcelforce etc as it will give you away as an amateur
8. The cover letter
The role of the cover letter is to raise curiosity and compel the reader to either request a copy of your manuscript or read your sample chapters. Don’t try to sell your book at this stage. Cover letters should be brief and include your name, address and contact details (phone and email).
9. Send a synopsis
Most publishers will ask for a synopsis. If they don’t, don’t send one. Ideally, you should keep your synopsis to a page, and certainly no more than two. A synopsis does not have to explain the entire plot of your book, but should introduce the protagonist and highlight the main story twists. Don’t write lengthy explanations. Keep the writing short, fast and exciting.
Approaching publishers in a professional manner increases your chances of being accepted, so make sure you research each publisher you submit your work to and adhere to industry submission standards.
Written by: Anonymous Guest Blogger
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