How to Get a Book Published

Publish Your Book

The world of book publishing may seem impossible to break into, but the truth is that anyone can have their book published. If you’ve done the hard work — writing a book — then the rest of your task is easy. Trust me — there are so many publishing companies out there who want to publish good work, that sorting through them to find a publisher is like shooting fish in a barrel. Publishing a book is not easy, but if you take the proper steps, you can publish your book in no time.

The editors at AskDeb have worked in the publishing industry (both digital and print) for over a decade, and we’ve seen thousands of wannabe authors make the easy transition into “published writer”.  Even though you may have heard that bookstores are having trouble with their traditional business methods, there is still interest in publishing new work. The publishing industry in America is very much alive.

How to Get a Book Published - Book Publishing

Publish Your Book

The Internet has become a top-notch venue for publishers both large and small who want to expand their author list or find new talent. For writers who don’t want to go the traditional route of publication have turned to websites like Etsy and eBay to sell their books on their own, usually one copy at a time. For these writers who have never made a dime off their writing in the past, selling forty or fifty copies of their book over the course of a few weeks is a huge financial return on their hard work, and because of the ease of use and the democratic nature of the web, you should expect authors to continue going this route for publishing. An author’s ability to publish and sell their own work combined with that same ability granted to small presses means there are more publishing opportunities than ever before. The lesson is — if you have written a good book, getting it published is simple.

There are four things every author should be doing right now in order to get their book published.

1. Read All Day Long

Even though you’ve finished your book, you still need to be a voracious reader. We’re not talking about inspiration here — you need to read to find out about publishers, literary presses, and publishing opportunities.

If you triple the amount of books you read on a daily basis, you’re more likely to find out about new publishers that could be interested in your new work. But don’t just read books — lots of magazines publish excerpts or short stories, and successful writers have used these opportunities for years as a jumping off point for their career.

While you read, be sure to write down the names of ten publishers, magazines, or editors who you think would respond positively to your work. If you find a book that you like, that is similar to your own book, figure out who published that book and write their name down. Research these names, find out when they read unsolicited submissions, and try to tailor your book to that press.

All new writers should be well-versed in the names and styles of publishers and small presses. You should be familiar with publishers who are based in your region or even in your city. If there’s a university nearby, find out about their publication history. All major universities have what is called a “university press”.  These college presses are usually more willing to publish young writers or experimental material.

However you decide to handle it, you need to find the names of ten publishers you’d be willing to do business with.

2. Narrow Down Your Search

Using that list of ten publishers  that you found through your own reading and research,  look them up in  a copy of the most recent writer’s market for your genre. These books are available for perusal at your local library, or you can buy a copy for yourself. Either way, look for your genre (“Poet’s Market”, “Short Story Market”, etc) and the current year. There’s no use looking up details that were valid five years ago.

While you’re researching, narrow down your list of publishers to just five. This will make your submission process a targeted attack, rather than a random grab out of nowhere.

While looking up a publisher’s details, you need to realize that some imprints may have folded in recent months, some may not be accepting submissions, or a publisher may not want an unsolicited submission without a query letter first.  These are the easiest publishers to eliminate from your list.

The purpose of focusing on just five potential publishers for your book is that it forces you to create a concrete idea of what your book is. Instead of spreading your efforts around among ten different editors, you can concentrate on the names of just five people who have the power to publish your book.

3. Package Your Book Correctly

“Packing” your book doesn’t just mean wrapping it in a book mailer and plunking your home address down on the front — once you have worked out which five publishers you’ll be targeting with your book, you need to prepare a unique copy of your book that is specific to each publishing house. Some publishers will want multiple copies of your book to spread around the editing floor, while others are looking for simple excerpts to determine if they want to read more, and many newer publishing houses would prefer it if you sent the text of your book in an email or as an attachment.  The point of focusing on five unique publishers is that you can prepare five tailor made copies of your book to fit the style that each house prefers.

4. Keep Trying

This last step in the process of publishing your book is the most important — don’t give up if you get rejected the first time. If your first five publishers  reject you, pick five more presses to share your genius with. There are hundreds of stories of authors who were rejected by hundreds of publishers before they found the right house. Rejection at this early stage of your career is good for you — it teaches you to accept criticism and makes victory that much sweeter when you finally do find the right publisher.

See also: