Even though I worked in the Marketing Department at the publishing company I was employed with a few years back, our company was small so my job carried over to the editorial side of things quite often. Each and every employee would read a book submission before we made a decision on it. More often than not, writers received a rejection letter from us.
Whether you’re working on a novel, a children’s book or a memoir, these tips should help you navigate the publishing world and give you a head start when you start getting serious about getting your book published.
Answering questions and doing a bit of research will help you get familiar with the same types of questions an agent, editor, or publisher will ask. Your first conversation will be much like a job interview so do your homework and be prepared to answer some hard questions.
As with any job interview, you’ll end up discussing, at some point, why you would make a good fit for their company, why you’re the best person for the job. Same goes for finding an agent and a publisher.
There are thousands of publishers in the U.S. Thousands. Knowing what their mission statement is and what types of books they don’t want is the key to narrowing down the list of publishers that might be the best fit for your book. That’s why working with an agent is so important. They’ve already done this step for you.
Submission guidelines are different for every publisher. You can oftentimes find these on the publishers’ website, but in many cases, publishers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts so working with an agent is the only way to get to them.
If you haven’t had at least five people read your manuscript find individuals who will critique your work and give you constructive criticism. These are people who own red pens and who aren’t afraid to correct your grammar, punctuation or to simply tell you that something doesn’t flow for whatever reason. Editors will be harsh and brutal. This is their job. They’re good at it so get used to seeing red and expect to make changes upon changes before seeing a final draft.
Marketing is huge. Even though publishers will help market your book what you do above and beyond their efforts will be worth your time. Get a website for your book (like movies do), for yourself (under your name), and launch into the world of social media if you don’t already have a presence there. Publishers – and their marketing teams – will be thrilled that you have a platform, and audience, already established.
If you have a book idea but haven’t completed the entire book, get on that right away. An agent and publisher is going to want to read everything you have. Wait until you get your first advance to start signing contracts on just an idea.
Have questions about getting published? There’s information out there and established organizations and associations that can help you get started.
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