Getting a book published is one of the most challenging stages of book writing, along with book marketing. Many authors have very good ideas and can produce excellent book manuscripts, but the process of finding the right book publisher is a very different skill. Writers may need to do additional research on this process, or involve someone with experience in the industry.
Here are some tips to help you navigate the process of getting your book published.
Write an Excellent Copy
If you want to stand out and gain recognition among the competition, the description of your book has to be great and stand out from the rest of the book proposals out there, so that it can capture the attention of acquisition editors at the publishing houses. The first part of the book needs to be carefully edited as well so that readers get hooked in the storyline and continue reading. Once you have a draft, you can show it to several people and get their feedback on it. Even great books can get rejected at the beginning, but after several rounds of editing, your manuscript will start to shine and achieve the page-turning effect you want to create.
Use an Agent
Literary agents improve the chances of getting a publishing deal, particularly with large book publishing houses. They look over your proposal, give you feedback, suggestions to improve your manuscript, and can reach out to publishers that could be a good match for a manuscript. For that, they take a percentage from whatever deal they land for you. It is usually worth it because you get out of the hassle to have to pursue several publishers. Instead, you go with an expert and pay them for their expertise. Finding an agent, however, involve some research.
For medium and small presses, you can find book publishers on websites like the Literary Marketplace and Publishers Marketplace and can pitch your book directly to them. Sometimes they have a specific time frame when they accept books, or campaigns to solicit submissions for certain series of books. Keep in mind that in this process, you are competing against other authors who are doing precisely the same thing of book publishing, so you want to carefully craft your communications with them, involving expert help if needed.
The biggest challenge in the publishing industry is to be able to sell the books after they have been published. It is much easier to produce a book than to market it. So, what publishers want to see from a first-time writer is that you have an audience who would actually read your book. Most authors do not do this, so if you have managed to build up an audience, you are already ahead of them. This is referred to as your author platform, which substantially increases your chances of getting your book accepted for publication. People with a popular website, youtube channel, or social media account with many active followers can use it to their advantage. You can start working on something along those lines, providing content that adds value to your followers; it will prove worthy later on when the time comes to engage with them on the book.
You can self-publish your book, even though the process of self-publishing is rarely free. You will need someone to copyedit and proofread your book, someone to design the cover of your book, and maybe the interior pages as well. You may also want or need to buy your ISBN numbers, among other expenses. These costs will add up, but they are for important services that are needed.
You can use tools like Grammarly for free to check your basic grammar errors, and then do more than one round of manual edits. However, since it is difficult to look into your own mistakes as you get so used to the text, it is better to hire someone to do that work, using services like Upwork or some other freelancing platform.
The next step is creating an attractive cover design, for which you can hire a graphic designer with experience in book covers or use a freelance service like 99 Designs. Since the book cover is a critical piece, it is worth the expense as you can get 30 or more designs for about 300 dollars. When you have all the pieces ready, you can publish your book as an ebook and as a paperback, using platforms like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.
Writing a Good Book
There are some foundational steps that you need to follow to write a good book.
Research the market for the book
Before you write a book, you need to research the potential market for the book, understand the expected audience, and the channels through which they discover and buy books.
Speed is not the point. Quality is what matters.
One of the first things you want is to establish your writing space, an environment free of distractions. You will likely need privacy and silence, and the materials you will need to write, including office supplies, reference books, citation manuals, diagrams, storyboards, etc.
Break the project in small pieces
The reason why writing a book seems so colossal is because it is a large project with many sections. Thus, it is helpful to break the task into as many small pieces as you can. Remember that a 400-500 page manuscript is made up of paragraphs and sentences. Writing software such as Scrivener can help organize and easily rearrange different pieces of information.
Construct an outline
A good outline helps you keep track of where you are going. If the book is not fully written yet, agents and editors usually require an outline. They want to know what you are going to say how you are going to say it, and where you are planning to say it.
Set a firm deadline
It is vital to have a schedule and make adjustments until you are comfortable with it. Distractions are common, so you will always need to find time to write on a regular basis. Perseverance is what will get your book idea into a finished manuscript.
The next step is understanding what publishers expect to see in book manuscripts submitted for publication, which can go a long way in the process of getting your book published. This website includes some articles that can help you better understand the process of getting a book published, the types of publishing companies currently available in the market, a comparative view of the different types of business models in the book publishing industry, and tips to do some market research since the early stages of the publishing process.