How Should I Approach a Publisher?

Garry Crystal
Garry Crystal
Stacks of published books.
Stacks of published books.

The first step in approaching a publisher with your literary work is to do your research thoroughly. If you have written a commercial fiction book, look at books that are similar to yours. The publisher’s name will be printed on the book. Also, research writer’s manuals; they will give the business information and book type that a publisher deals in.

Finding the right publisher for your book is key. If you submit the wrong type of book to the wrong publisher, then you will waste a lot of time. Find out if the publisher you are interested in accepts books directly. Many publishers only accept manuscripts via literary agents.

Phone the publisher in order to find out the appropriate editor to whom you should submit your work. Once you have found the right publisher and editor, send an enquiry letter. Make sure that your letter is professional and well typed. Do not add unnecessary information, and stick to facts that are relevant to the book you have written.

State in your letter any other relevant writing credentials you have, whether they are professional or not. include the type of book you have written and the audience you think it will attract. A publisher’s main aim is to sell as many copies of the book as possible. The marketability of your book will be uppermost in any publisher’s mind.

If a publisher agrees to read your book, make sure the book is laid out professionally. There are certain guidelines that should be adhered to regarding layout, page numbers, and margin spacing. A publisher will not even consider reading a manuscript that is hand written.

Do not be disheartened by the length of time it takes the publisher to make a decision on your book. The decision to publish a book is not just the responsibility of a single person. There will be consultations with other departments and many readings before a final decision is reached.

If you have heard nothing in two months, send a polite letter asking about the progress of the decision. If your book is rejected, do not ask for reasons or explanations. Publishers see thousands of manuscripts each month, and it would be impossible to comment on each individual case.

If you have been rejected, do not give up; it is part of the business. With the advent of the Internet, there are many new ways to get works published. Many major companies now offer e-publishing services that will format your book and publish it electronically for a very small fee. A percentage of each book sold will go the author. For many unpublished authors, this may be the best way forward in the competitive publishing business.

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    • Stacks of published books.
      By: Africa Studio
      Stacks of published books.