Let’s assume you have decided that your novel is good enough, and you want to find a traditional publisher for it.
That’s an awesome step. Congratulations.
You just got much closer to being a real author. Because getting your book out there for readers to purchase and enjoy is an integral part of being an author. No matter how you achieve that step, it’s essential.
I’ll get to self-publishing later in this series. I’m starting with the traditional way because there are still authors who prefer this. I’ll just mention here that I personally believe self-publishing is the faster, more efficient and more profitable way these days, but I don’t want to exclude anyone. And honestly, if you want to be traditionally published, you definitely need a strong mindset…
How does one find a publisher?
The sad truth is that most well-known publishers don’t accept submissions from just anyone. They rely on agents to preselect the manuscripts they receive (and they still receive enough of them!). I’ll get to agents next week. But even so, it could be worth a try.
On the other hand, there are many small(er) publishers that do accept direct submissions. But you don’t want to just send your manuscript to just anyone. In addition, publishers really don’t like multiple submission – meaning that you shouldn’t submit your manuscript to several publishers at the same time.
Remember, your manuscript is just one of hundreds they receive. And usually, small(er) publishers don’t have a lot of manpower.
So once you sent your manuscript to a publisher, you have to sit and wait for the answer, which more often than not is a rejection, since they do get hundreds of manuscripts. That can take up to a year. Then you submit to the next one… which can take up to a year again. As you see, you don’t want to waste precious time with publishers that are not a good match.
So how do you choose a publisher?
Check them out in detail. Look at their websites, their online catalogues, or search for them on Amazon. See what their bestselling books are, and whether that genre matches your book.
See for how long they have been in business. Check how many books they do per year. Look at the covers. Look Inside the books on Amazon to see how well they format them. Look at the prices and sales rank. Look at their social media pages and read the comments there. Watch how they interact with people. If they list authors on their website, you could even talk to one or two of them.
Look at the rights they want and see if they actually have a sample contract online. You might luck out there. (Not likely. Contracts have become draconian. More on that later in the series.)
Make sure they are NOT charging any fees or offering paid services. Do not pay for anything. Not for looking at your manuscript, not for editing, not for marketing. Do not agree to buy a minimum large order (~200 or so) of print copies for yourself. A serious publisher will not demand this from you.
It bears repeating:
DO NOT PAY THE PUBLISHER FOR ANYTHING.
Do. Not. Ever. If you pay the publisher for services, and they make you sign a contract to hand over your rights for duration of copyright, you have LOST YOUR BOOK. You signed it away. And it is unlikely you’ll see a lot of royalties from it.
Because the business model of those publishers you pay for their services does not include making money from selling your book. They have already gotten enough money from you and other authors like you to sustain themselves before that book even sees the light of the day. So they don’t try very hard to sell it.
That’s right. They won’t put any effort into actually selling your book. They make enough money with their “services.” And they’ll hold the rights to your book. For decades.
Now you checked them out, they look genuine, they don’t want money from you, and they even have a bestseller that’s similar to your book. And they allow query letters or even partial submissions.
Follow their rules to the letter (maybe I should repeat that, as well: adhere to their submission and format rules!) and then query or submit. I’ll get to the query letter later in the series. Anyway, you tell them about your book in exactly the way they want to hear from you.
And hope for good luck.
And wait. This is a waiting game.
But actually, you don’t just wait.
You write your next book instead. Because it’s the number of books you have written that determines your income and your visibility as an author.
And you build your blog and your audience on social media. Because the size of your fan club determines how attractive you are for a publisher. It makes their marketing easier and cheaper…(and it’s awesome to have if you decide to go indie, after all.)
But while you do all that, you wait for that publisher to respond to your submission. And prepare yourself for a rejection.
It takes a strong mindset to survive all that and not get depressed and give up.
Here’s some EFT tapping for that situation:
Even though it’s such a hard and tedious process to find a traditional publisher, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to be professional, find a good match and submit to them easily.
Even though I’m so discouraged already, but I still want to find a traditional publisher, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to find a good publisher to submit to, and keep writing and growing as writer while I wait for their response.
Even though it is such a tedious process and possibly much like a lottery to win a publishing contract, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to pursue this dream as efficiently and professionally as possible.
How do you feel about finding a traditional publisher?
Does it feel difficult?
How does it feel knowing the steps to take?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment!
Image Source: F. Moebius
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