When one is thinking of how to publish a book, keep in mind that rejection is a natural part of the publishing process – it’s happened to all of your favourite authors. Don’t believe it? Read on….It’s easy to feel disheartened about rejection, but remember that not everybody can love your book. That doesn’t mean it’s not creative or well-written, the timing might just be wrong. Everyone knows the story of J.K. Rowling, who was rejected 12 times until an editor’s daughter liked the draft. Now, she’s one of the most famous authors of all time.
Let’s get into the mind of a publisher and layout before you reasons why a publisher might reject a manuscript multiple times:
1. Publishing a book with out-of-the-box ideas
When you have a question, how to publish a book that has out of the box theme? This type of rejection often happens to fiction books, short story collections, and poetry. If you have a unique story, some companies may be wary of publishing it. In the mind of a publisher, there’s always a chance that it won’t do well. If you have an idea that’s never been popular before or as of then there’s no dedicated market for the theme of your book this scares publishers off. This isn’t your fault, and you should consider the self-publishing route if you’re concerned.
When Amish Tripathi came up with his first book, he was told that no one would be interested in mythology. Over 20 publishers rejected him. He and his agent ultimately had to self-publish before Westland Books picked him. Now, ten years later, his books are one of the fastest-selling in India. His idea was unique and scared off many publishers, including some of the biggest names. His writing paid off in the end.
2. Who is the right publisher for my book?
Do your research! You might have a great romance novel, but if you pitch your book to a publisher who is focused on sci-fi books, you’re bound to get rejected. When sending your draft out to publishers, go through their website, and find their recent books and bestsellers. They want to find the book with the right fit for their brand, and many publishers list their preference of genre.
Stephen King famously got rejected around 30 times. One publisher firmly told him that they did not publish horror novels because it was hard to sell. When he found the right publisher Doubleday, his book Carrie sold 1 million copies in the first year alone.
3. Why is it necessary to follow the Submission Guidelines?
When you are looking into the question of how to publish a book, finding the right publisher is important. Researching publishers and literary agents, make sure you know what they’re looking for. When you make your pitch, include all those points. If they want the first three chapters and you give them the whole draft, then they may automatically reject you for carelessness. Some places require a query letter or a covering letter a sales pitch for your book with the necessary information like genre, word count, etc. Also include a marketing spiel for your book. No publisher would like to take on a new author who is going to just sit around expecting only the publisher to market his/her book.
Remember personalize the letter you are sending to the publisher. Also, double-check the formatting of the draft. Use the correct line spacing, fonts, and headings. Remember that publishers are looking for any reason to reject you. First impressions are crucial – presentation and formatting are simple things that will make you seem professional.
4. I am an author why do I need to develop Marketing Ability?
It helps if you are well connected or have an excellent social media presence, reach in the media or with publishers. A publisher will look at these factors, as it indicates to the publisher that if the book is good, there is a good possibility that the author can market it within his network to generate sales. The publisher has one eye on the fact whether a book will sell and these connections ensure that the book will sell. Writing networks are also a great source of advice and good ways of finding agents and publishers.
A strong social media presence can also increase your marketability as an author as you have a built-in audience. This is especially important for non-fiction authors. To publish a book in India or abroad one needs to take seriously marketing strategies for your book.
An ability to make a strong pitch to the publisher goes a long way in acceptance or rejection. If you’re pitching a self-help book or a cookbook, it’s good to highlight your credentials and expertise too. You must convince the publishers that you know what you’re talking about and that people will want to read your book.
5. What should I know about trends and Genres?
Hopping on to trends that offers nothing new is a sure way to get rejected. Editors go through so many manuscripts that they can tell when the idea isn’t genuine. Fresh content is always better, which is possible even if you’re writing in a popular genre. Publishers don’t want to put out the same types of books over and over again.
The market could also change and suddenly, the trendy supernatural book that you wrote is out of style and publishers have moved on to a new genre.
Sometimes, you’re just out of luck. If you’re writing in a popular genre, the market might be oversaturated. No matter how good and unique your story is, another Young Adult novel will just take away from the publisher’s expected sales.
6. Personal Preferences
It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but rejections can simply depend on personal preference. The editor working that day may not like the number of adjectives you use, but someone else may love it! Editors make mistakes all the time as hundreds of submissions burden them. Just keep sending out your manuscript, and someone is bound to enjoy your writing.
Chetan Bhagat was the unlucky recipient of this type of rejection. Three editors decided they didn’t like his book Five Point Someone enough, so they rejected him. He went to Rupa Publications and the rest is history. He’s sold millions of copies of his books, which have spawned blockbuster movies.
7. Writing Issues
While the reasons for rejection might be bad luck, you could have issues with your story. That doesn’t mean it’s the end of your publishing journey! Be open to criticism as it will ultimately make your story stronger. If the editors give a reason for rejection (they often don’t), listen to what they say. If they’re not excited about your story, your idea might be too generic, your characters might not be compelling, or your story might be moving too slowly. If they say your story lacks a voice, maybe your writing style isn’t sophisticated or defined enough.
While this feedback is hard to hear, these issues are fixable. Take the time to look at your draft and identify any lingering problems. For example, editors hate overly long drafts, so consider cutting down the word count.
If you’ve fixed these issues but still getting rejected, don’t worry! An editor once called Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code “badly written”. He eventually found the right publisher and has sold over 80 million copies.
8. Is this the right time to publish my book?
Maybe that exciting new idea you had was already in the works by someone else. Maybe the month you decide to submit your proposal is the month that the publishers cut down on their numbers. It’s all about timing, and this one is out of your hands. All you can do is submit to many publishers and cover your bases. Hopefully, you luck out with one of them, or you could always self-publish.
The authors of Chicken Soup for the Soul faced rejection 140 times before they decided to self-publish. A publisher later picked them up, and the series has now sold over 500 million copies worldwide.
As you can see, publishing is a mix of luck and talent. These reasons could be why your book is getting rejected – some are in your control and some are not. Give yourself every chance to succeed by making sure you’re not making any of the above mistakes.
The first rejection will be hard. So will the second. But you’ll get used to it. If a publisher has rejected you, then it wasn’t the right fit – for you or them. Remind yourself why you love writing and the publishing journey will become easier. However, don’t forget to listen to feedback. Sometimes your draft hasn’t reached its potential yet and it’s good to take the time to revise. Ultimately, you’ll learn something from every rejection and by the end of it, your draft will be the best it can be.
If you’re still getting rejected, you should try the self-publishing route. Many bestselling authors were rejected but used self-publishing to get their book out there. But most importantly, don’t give up! You have a story worth telling.