How To Get Published – 7 Useful Tips
For writers who have slaved over a manuscript for months, or possibly years, on end the prospect of finally sending your baby out into the world is daunting, if not downright terrifying. Be that as it may, getting published is the ultimate goal of most writers. Stories have to be shared to reach their full potential. But how do we as new writers convince publishers that our book is special, that it is the one that should be taken out of the slush pile and taken seriously?
Here we list seven tips which, although are by no means foolproof, will set you on the way to discussing your work with publishers in a meaningful way.
1. Be Professional
Perhaps the cardinal rule, this one should be broken at your peril. Publishers are in the business of printing and distributing books. Though you may have poured your heart and soul into your manuscript, you need to approach the industry not as an overprotective parent, but as a professional. This means attending to all aspects of your pitch in a business –like manner. Follow up when you are due to without hounding the publisher, treat deadlines with respect and generally make the job as pleasant and hassle-free as possible for the person on the other end.
2. Build your Online Presence before you Pitch
Establishing some sort of online presence is essential as an author, even before you have garnered any success. If you are a writer then blogging is a way of sharing your ideas which should come quite naturally. Being active on social media, sites such as Facebook and Twitter, allows you to engage with potential readers as well as established writers. Building an audience for a writer can be a time-consuming task, if you present yourself with an already established base of followers you have taken some of the ground work out of the process for your publisher.
3. Know your Genre
If you write for a specific genre rather than for the general fiction market then you need to know it inside out. Be aware of bestsellers in the area, know what readers go for and what doesn’t hold as much appeal. Train yourself to become verbally adept at discussing your genre so that your publisher can see that you know your stuff.
4. Give your Book International Appeal
In the business of book publishing money is made when rights are sold for different territories. If your book relates to just one territory and will not stand a chance in others then it is harder for the publisher to see why they should take time over it. This doesn’t mean that your book can’t have a distinctive setting, on the contrary, it should. It does mean, however, that the essence of the story needs to remain engaging and understandable for readers around the world.
5. Fine Tune your Synopsis
This is your one and only chance to tell the publisher how wonderful your book is. Therefore, it needs to persuade. The degree to which you want them to publish it is not a convincing argument. What the publisher wants to see is why this book is relevant to readers. What about it will make them stop and think, or tell their best friend about it. As we mentioned earlier, stories long to be shared, so what about your book makes it want to be told? Focus on this.
6. Query Letter
The query letter is the document that you send along with your synopsis and opening chapters to introduce yourself and your work to the publisher. Like your synopsis, it is very important. This is where you sell yourself in addition to the book. Resist telling your life story, keep it short and to the point. If you have a one line pitch which expresses what your book is about then include it here.
7. Be prepared for rejection
Unfortunately, rejection is a part of the process. Don’t allow it to de-rail you though. There have been many stories of internationally acclaimed authors whose books were rejected numerous times. Use rejection to your best advantage, rather than wallowing in self-pity for days on end, use the information you have been provided to make your next pitch better. Where did your pitch fall down? Do you need to work on your synopsis? Are there copy edits that need to be made, or characters that need work? Whatever the rejection was based on can be turned around to make sure that the next pitch will be better than the last.
There is no magic formula which will get your book published faster than everyone else’s. If you are professional, persistent and systematic in your approach to getting published then you will certainly give yourself better odds. Good Luck!
David Grover is a Communications Manager at Timeo, a useful tool for businesses in the UK. He’s also a freelance career coach, who’s always eager to share his experience. In his free time he enjoys traveling.