How to approach a publisher- the do’s and don’ts
- March 23, 2022
Do you wish to get your book published? So, what’s next? Where are you going to send the typescript? Figuring out how to get a book published can seem almost as daunting as writing your entire book. It’s helpful to think of the process of publishing a book similar to any content creation project. You can give yourself multiple deadlines to stay on track, and work on individual tasks while remaining focused on your big goal.
Picture this scene: A hot-shot publisher comes and tells you- “We’re impressed with your book and know it will be a success, We are happy to publish your request.”
What a wonderful day that will be!
Here are some do’s and don’ts for the publishing process. This guide will provide all the information you need. Keep reading to learn more.
Do research agents and publishers
Browse the websites of new agencies and publishers to see what genres and categories they’re looking for, as well as whether they’re currently accepting submissions. Also, check if the publishers on your list accept unsolicited manuscripts. Since the majority of traditional publishers will not accept manuscripts that are not requested. Why? They’re already buried in manuscripts. Each publishing firm receives thousands of manuscripts each year, but only a handful of those are accepted for publication. So, if they don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts, get an agent. Obtain several publications by the publishers you intend to approach. Think carefully about whether your proposed publication fits into the list. If doubtful, contact the publisher.
Do work with a publisher with a good reputation
Now that you have a good list of publishers to start with, take the extra step to research them fully— beyond knowing which genres they represent. Who have they worked with in the past? You should avoid working with an unknown publisher. You can use this information to personalize your query letter. Impress your prospective publisher by showing them that you’re intentionally querying them because you believe them to be the best person for the job.
Do insist on a written contract
Any professional publishing house will require a signed agreement to represent you. This safeguards your mutual interests. Don’t be satisfied with a handshake and a nod.
Do get comfortable with rejections
Don’t be afraid of rejection. Everyone is rejected at some point. And by everyone, we mean J. K. Rowling, Stephen King, and C.S. Lewis, among others. When (not if) you are rejected, don’t beat yourself up. Carefully read any written communication from the publisher. Even if it’s a flat rejection, it could offer helpful feedback. Keep in mind that publishing is a business. The most common reason for rejection is because the publisher does not believe he or she can adequately promote and sell your work in order to keep the business afloat. If a rejection letter has useful information, respond to it. If someone has taken the time to read your work, express gratitude. Courtesy helps people remember your name. You want people to remember your name. Stay connected with the publisher, if you’re invited and check the website every few months to see what’s new.
Do prepare your novel outline
The majority of publishers want a request letter in which you identify yourself and your work (similar to the back cover blurb). Some will require additional information, such as a one-page overview of your work and the first three chapters. This synopsis should cover the major storyline elements of your novel from beginning to end; prepare it ahead of time so you don’t have to rush at the last minute if the request comes in.
Do pace yourself
Don’t get carried away with your inquiry. Constrain your requests to no more than five publishers at a time (at the most). Also, avoid contacting many agents from the same agency at once.
Don’t waste the publisher’s time
Before you approach a publisher to represent you, make sure that your manuscript is ready for prime time. It should be professionally edited and formatted. Your query letter should be free of typos because it acts as an advertisement for your writing ability. Check whether the publisher has submission guidelines. Don’t just assume that the same guidelines apply across the board. Look on the website. Follow the submission guidelines. To the letter.
Don’t forget to be confident
When approaching publishers, don’t be modest (in person or via a query letter). Now is not the time to undermine your accomplishments. You can show that you’re serious about writing by highlighting the essential information. Have you ever attempted to write a book? Let’s discuss it. Have you ever enrolled in a writing course? Spread the word. Consider your initial meeting with a publisher as a tryout. You should begin by emphasizing your best qualities. If you’re unsure of yourself, don’t contact a publication. You’re talking about a book on which you’ve spent a lot of time and effort. Get excited because happiness is contagious.
Don’t expect a response from every publisher
You’ll send your inquiry and wait four to six weeks for a response, as is customary. If you get no response. It’s okay. Not every publisher will react to your query letters; it’s a reality of life. They aren’t being impolite. They’re simply preoccupied. You can follow up if they don’t react to your inquiry within six weeks.
Don’t pay a literary agency for representation
Never pay a literary agency to represent you. That’s not how it works. Literary agents only get paid when you do. Literary agents get a commission from your book advance and future royalties. They should never charge you for standard representation.
Don’t send a general submission letter
Don’t copy and paste your submission letter without reading through it first. It’s important to personalize each query with what you know about the publisher and their specialty. This will improve your chances of impressing them. Do not, under any circumstances, send a template letter to everyone! Simply changing the greeting isn’t enough, and if you don’t have two or three good, comprehensive reasons for asking each publisher, that publisher should be removed from your shortlist.
Don’t get discouraged
Don’t get discouraged. You will not find a publisher in the space of one afternoon. Research thoroughly, edit and customize your queries, and don’t give up until you find the ideal publisher for your book.Keep an eye on the publishing business. Read about what’s going on. Go to festivals. Meet other authors. Make contacts. Make friends by being nice to people and interested in what they’re doing. Support other authors, and they will support you.
If you want to be a traditionally published author, you’ll need to work with a literary agency. Your agent will help you find the right publisher for you, negotiate contracts on your behalf, and advise you on the next steps in your career. Make an informed decision. Before submitting your work, take the time to make it great. If you haven’t before, proof your text and format your work according to professional standards.
Whether you choose to strive for a traditional publishing contract or self-publish, give your writing everything you have. Boost your skills. Read as much about the craft as you can.
Your readers deserve it and so do you.
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