Writing a book is definitely an accomplishment, but getting it published is just as hard. It takes a lot of determination and persistence to get break into the publishing world. In order to get your masterpiece on the shelves, you will need to find a book publisher, understand how the publishing industry works and prepare a thorough plan.
If you are wondering how to get your book published, here are a few pointers to begin with:
Research the market and define your audience
Firstly, you will need to define your market. Think about who your intended readership is. Understand the different genres and rightly classify your book into one of them. For example, if you have written a novel, you must be able to define whether it is a romantic or a mystery. If you tell your agent that it is ‘kind of’ or ‘sort of’ romantic-science-fiction, it leaves an impression that you have not yet refined the concept of your book. So, as a first step, research the market, define who your target audience would be.
Prepare a manuscript
Prepare a professional looking manuscript. Make sure that you research online and find out how a standard manuscript is prepared. Also, if you have agents or publishers in mind, make sure that you check out their guidelines on how to prepare manuscripts.
Research publishers online
Do your homework. Do some basic research to find a book publisher. Make a list of book publishers you would like to work with. Check their previous work and make sure that your work ‘fits in’. Check the publisher’s guidelines on how to send your manuscript. Most of these guidelines will be available on the publisher’s website. It’s important to keep in mind not to query both agents and publishers simultaneously. If you are hoping to find a literary agent, leave the publisher search for them. If you’re going straight to a publisher remember not all publishers take unsolicited material and you will most likely be left with the smaller companies and a handful of mid sized ones, to choose from.
Write a query letter
A query letter is just like a cover letter that asks the publisher or agent whether he is interested in publishing your book. It is important that you keep the cover letter concise. It should contain a very short description of your work and a small introduction to yourself and your experience in writing. You could include an outline of your book too. Make the query letter compelling and to the point.
Approaching a literary agent or not?
You can approach book publishing companies directly. But there are some publishing houses that consider manuscripts only from literary agents. Agents could be useful as they have the right resources and business contacts with publishing houses. So they could be of great assistance in getting you the right publisher for your work.
Self publishing a book
Self publishing is becoming popular these days. But remember that there is a lot of work that goes behind self publishing. The good part is that you keep all the rights for the book and do not have to give them up to the publisher.
To sum it up, do your homework and a lot of research and approach the right agents or publishers that work with your kind of work. Make sure that you have understood all the points above and prepare a thorough plan in order to publish your book.