Getting published is like a dream come true for almost every aspiring writer. It is one of the biggest achievements to put under your belt and the joy of getting the good news that your book is about to turn into a reality is simply overwhelming.
But as you may know that getting your book published or getting the title of being a published author isn’t exactly an easy task.
It requires one to constantly keep on knocking on the doors of various publishers in the hopes of one of them agreeing.
Maybe you’ve already done this or maybe you haven’t but one thing is for certain that you crave to know about what it takes to become a published author.
There are two ways to go at it:
- Self-publish your own book
- Contact publishers and convince one of them to give your manuscript a shot (traditional way)
In this article, we will go through the tips and recommended steps you can take to get published through the traditional way – getting published through a publisher.
Write a book worth publishing
The first step is the most obvious and the most important one – write a manuscript that is worth publishing.
It is easy for you to say that your story is the best and the most perfect story ever written. Say that there’s no better book than yours but you’d be surprised by seeing how many writers think the same way.
Still don’t believe us?
Try convincing a stranger to pay you a small amount for reading your manuscript. You can even play a bet where if he/she doesn’t like it, you return the money.
It is very important to think from the perspective of a publisher. By agreeing to publish your manuscript, they’ll not only be putting their money on the line but also their reputation.
Ask yourself: Would you take that risk if you were in their shoes?
If after answering with complete honesty your answer is positive then go ahead. If not, edit your story more rigorously and make sure that your story structure, plot, as well as characters, are on-point.
Its always better to go back and build a bigger, better boat than sailing into the ocean with a weak one!
Grow your personal brand
You might question the importance of building your own brand before you’ve gotten published. Won’t fame come to you after you are published?
Yes, there’s no doubt that fame does come to the authors that deserve it but as mentioned before, publishers gamble on you and your manuscript.
As a writer who is trying to get published, your job is to take away as much of their risk as possible. One of the best ways to do it is by building your own brand before you approach any publisher.
Already having an audience that will read anything you write will make the publishers become confident in you and accept your manuscript.
There are many writers that have an audience on Instagram which contributed towards them becoming bestsellers with their first book. Arch Hades is one of them and her book “High Tide: Poetry and Postcards” quickly became a bestseller
There are various ways to grow your personal brand but here are two of the most popular ones:
- Opening an Instagram account and posting literary work like poetries, flash fiction, short stories, and more.
- Starting a writing website and posting all your literary work their.
Hire a professional editor
There’s a saying amongst professional authors and editor,
“A writer can never be his/her own editor”
We don’t know to what degree this is true but we do know that hiring a professional editor can really help make your manuscript much stronger.
Simply put, they know what a publisher or an agent is looking for and they can see the mistakes which you can’t.
Your mind as a writer is too invested in your own story. As a result, many of the mistakes become justifiable to you due to the context which only you know.
An editor has an eye for details. They will not only help you eliminate unnecessary parts but also help your story bring out all the intended details.
You can overlook this step if you have the ability to edit rigorously and with an open mind but hiring a professional editor is indeed an advisable step.
You can use platforms like Fiverr and Upwork to find these professionals – these can also help you save a ton of money 😉
Find an agent
Before you jump your guns and come to the conclusion that you don’t want anyone to take a portion of your earnings, hear us out.
Agents aren’t exactly the same money-hungry corporate people that most people typically know them to be. They are an important stepping stone in every author’s journey.
Jk rowling had an agent that helped her publish The Harry Potter series, Chuck Verrill is Stephen King’s long time editor and agent.
If agents were these monstrous personalities than why do the top authors of the world still have them. Technically, they shouldn’t need them anymore.
The fact is that agents help authors, both upcoming and already established ones, in many ways like landing better publishing deals, paperwork, etc.
Finding a literary agent can really help you get published too. Not only will they help you create a better manuscript but also land better deals.
Moreover, many of the renowned publishing houses wouldn’t even give your manuscript a chance if it didn’t come through a literary agent.
So research some agents that are in your genre and just shoot them mails.
Start contacting publishers and expect to wait
The final way of getting published is a no-brainer. Contact publishing houses but also be ready to wait anywhere from 6 months to a year for their reply.
However, there are a few aspects that you need to pay attention to before contacting any publishers. These will improve your chances of getting your manuscript accepted and landing a good deal for it.
- Understand the types of genres a particular publishing house plays under. Most of them stick to two to three genres at a time. As a result, it allows them to create better marketing plans and strategies. Knowing these genres will help you avoid wasting time on publishers that don’t publish your genre.
- Read the publishing guidelines and follow them closely. Many writers don’t do this and as a result, they waste a lot of their time and effort. For example, if a publishing house doesn’t accept first-time authors than the chances of your convincing them are very thin.
- Contact their editors and try to establish a relationship with them first. You can find them through LinkedIn or through personal contacts. Once you do, you can directly ask them to give your manuscript a read. Convincing an individual is much easier than convincing an entire team.
- Write a really good cover letter and attach it along with your manuscript or the synopsis of your manuscript. Having a good cover letter can truly improve your chances of getting published.
- Read the books published by the publishing house. This will help you understand the type of language the publishing house prefers. Some publishing houses even give a sample story on their website. Go through it and see whether they’re a good fit for your manuscript.