Top 10 Tips to Get Your Book Published
So you’ve finished with the writing and now you need to know how to get your book published, but you don’t know where to start?
This article is aimed at you.
If you want your book to appear in print and be widely marketed then you will likely need to find a book publisher (the only other alternative is to self-publish and do all the marketing yourself).
To get published, you will need to know how to present yourself and your book in a professional way. There is a lot of competition out there and the better your approach, the better your chances.
Below are ten tips that you’d be seriously advised to consider before you do anything.
1. Before you send your book anywhere, make sure that it’s as good as you can get it.
Don’t rely on friends and relatives for feedback. Use a local writer’s group, published writers, or others with experience of the book trade.
If your book is a work of fiction, read my advice for novelists. Writers who get their book published are often strong-willed people, but usually they are are also prepared to listen to specific criticisms and rewrite some, or all of their book, if necessary.
Book publishers are usually busy people and they will often reject writers without providing detailed detailed feedback, so don’t rely on help from them. Value good quality feedback that you get from experienced and/or writers with books published.
2. Make sure that your book meets the publisher’s requirements before you send it anywhere.
Research book publishers and litererary agents thoroughly to find the ones that are appropriate. Some publishers only publish certain genres or types of book.
There are also conventions for certain genres, such as the length of a book. A general novel from a first time author should normally be at least 80,000 words long, for instance.
Find books that are of a similar type to your own and see who publishes them. Don’t waste time and money sending your work to book publishers who will automatically reject your book because it's not of a type or genre that they publish.
Honorary degrees and lifetime achievement awards are very encouraging. I know that it might sound strange that a writer who has published many books still needs encouragement, but this is true.— Joyce Carol Oates
3. Get a literary agent if you can.
A literary agent will take a cut of the money from any book deal that’s made, but they are usually worth it if you are serious about getting your book published.
They have the personal contacts in book publishing, some legal knowledge of contracts and rights issues, and can also help you to promote your book.
In short, a good literary agent will be effective negotiators on your behalf, as well as source of help and advice.
Good agents can be almost as difficult to secure as publishers, however, so present your work and yourself as professionally as possible if and when you contact them.
How to get a literary agent
4. It’s a tough marketplace out there.
Book sales are generally in decline, due to competition from laptops, mp3 players, cell phones, and other gadgets that modern people use to occupy their time.
On top of that, book publishers are fearful that as book trade becomes increasingly digitalized, it will suffer the same fate as the music and movie industry, where pirated copies of media have caused a drastic fall in profits.
As well as this meaning a downward pressure on the size of deals offered to authors, it is also more challenging than ever for a first time author to get a book published.
I started writing as a child. But I didn't think of myself actually writing until I was in college. And I had gone to Africa as a sophomore or something - no, maybe junior - and wrote a book of poems. And that was my beginning. I published that book.— Alice Walker
5. Try to see it from the publisher’s point of view.
Although most people involved in the industry will have an interest in books and reading, they are still a business, however, and need to make money in order to survive.
They are not there to help you out, or boost your ego. Read through any requirements that they have carefully before you send them your book and be prepared for them to hold onto it for a long time (months!) before you hear back from them.
If you want to get a book published be prepared to put in consistent effort over many months and spend time waiting - you can write something else in the meantime, of course!
6. Present yourself and your book in a professional manner.
You don’t necessarily need to dress up in a suit in order to get your book published, but you should treat your dealings with book book publishers and literary agents as if you were going for a job.
The way that you prepare and present your work and yourself is important. If you want to be a professional author, you must learn to behave like one.
Your overall attitude will influence your chances of getting your book published.
7. Build up a resume of your work and achievements.
You can include things like short stories that you’ve had published, poetry readings that you’ve done, or other literary projects that you’ve been involved with.
These will all help to present a positive picture of you as a writer and increase the chances of you getting your book published.
A short biography of yourself is also good to include. Put in anything that is writing related and any also any interesting facts that a book publisher might use to promote you and/or your book to the media, should you get your book published.
Miss out biographical details that aren’t directly relevant to your book or writing career.
There were about ten years of trying, failing, trying again, suffering rejection, etc. My first published book, 'Story of a Girl', was the fourth book I wrote.— Sara Zarr
8. Show a willingness to promote your book.
Book publishers will promote your book, but if you can also show that you can promote your book yourself, you will have a greater chance of getting your book published.
This might include talking to readers’ groups, being interviewed by the media such as local radio, or promoting yourself via the internet.
Without promotion your book is unlikely to succeed, especially if you are relatively unknown and the book publishers know this.
Also, show that you have plenty of ideas for future work.
9. Be prepared to do more work on your book, even if you are accepted.
There are a number of stages at which you might be asked to rewrite some or all of your work in order to get your book published.
Your litereray agent may well suggest changes that you should make, before they promote your work to book publishers.
The book publishers will almost certainly want some changes to be made, even if they are relatively minor, as they will go through your book with a fine toothcomb looking for errors and anomalies, as well as make requirements relating to structural or literary matters.
I wrote for years before I was ever published, and I don't think I could ever stop. That said, I was also a veterinarian before I sold my first book, and I still volunteer my time to help with animal welfare causes. So that is a career I would be happy to return to - while still secretly writing strange stories back in my doctor's office.— James Rollins
10. There is one alternative to the above that you might want to consider?
What about self-publishing? This used to be seen as an inferior choice in the past, but now that you can promote your book over the internet, it’s become increasingly popular and even established authors, unhappy with the constraints of their publishers, are using it to get a book published.
You don’t even need to spend a lot of money on print runs anymore if you get your book published in a digital format?
© 2014 Paul Goodman