“To write what is worth publishing, to find honest people to publish it, and get sensible people to read it, are the three great difficulties in being an author”.Charles Caleb Colton
A question that is always at the top of the mind of a writer, while writing and on completing their manuscript is, -‘Will my book get published?’ OR ‘How do I publish a book in the traditional way?’
Two ways to publish a book
There are two ways in which a writer can publish a book:
Tips to help you publish a book the traditional way
1. What kind of a book have you written? Is it a novel or a work of non-fiction?
• For novels and memoirs: You must have a finished and polished manuscript before you even think about how to get it published.
• For most non-fictions: You can either have a finished manuscript or you can send a book proposal (basically like a business plan for your book) in advance to a publisher and convince him to contract and pay you to write the book.
• If you’re writing a hybrid work (personal vignettes mixed with instructions or a multi-genre work that includes essays, stories, and poetry) then it is somewhat difficult to get a publisher to accept it.
2. Polish your novel
Publishing a book involves going over your work time and again, till you think it is as good as you can make it. It would help if you go over it after an interval, and see if it can be further improved. Take the help of author friends, editors to improve your work. Friends and family usually cannot and will not give you critical feedback. Hence it makes sense to approach a professional, such as an editor or a literary agent to review your work.
3. Write a synopsis
The length of the required synopsis will vary from publisher to publisher. Read their guidelines, and give them what they want. As a general rule, a synopsis should not be longer than one page. A well written synopsis which captures the essence of your book is important. This not only reflects what your story is about, but also your style of writing.
4. Write a query letter
Read the submission guidelines of the publishing company. Frame your query letter to include all information asked for, and no more. This is your first interaction with the publisher and you should invest adequate time and research to get it right. Remember the publisher gets hundreds of queries every day so you must stick to the guidelines. Click on the link to read some does and don’ts for writing your query letter
5. Research agents and publishers
You must research books in your category or genre and note the names of the publishing houses that are publishing books in your genre and approach them for your publishing needs.
When you are approaching conventional publishers, it would help to take the guidance of a literary agent who has contacts with these publishing houses and who can pitch your book to them.
Getting accepted by a traditional publishing house could be a long process with no surety that your book will be accepted for publishing.
6. Be prepared for Rejections
You will receive rejection letters. Do not take this personally. Some of the letters will contain constructive criticisms. Learn from them. Most of the rejections, however, will be standard letters. Throw those letters in the trash and forget about them.
Don’t give up. Just keep sending out more letters to more conventional publishers. This is a numbers game. You are more likely to send out dozens, if not hundreds of queries before someone expresses interest. This can take months or sometimes even years. Just remain patient. It only takes one ‘Yes’ to make everything worthwhile.
Typically, writers who do not want to depend on the vagaries of publishers or wait long to put out their work are increasingly looking at self-publishing as an option.
Start your next project……………even if the earlier one is still awaiting publication.
However, the path to publication isn’t the same for every author. Did your book publishing journey unfold differently? Please share with us your experience, on how you got your book published.