How to Get a Book Published in Four Easy Steps
By Joanna Campbell Slan
(Joanna is the author of twenty published books, including three mystery series. For more information, go to www.JoannaSlan.com )
1. Write your book. (I’m assuming your work is fiction. Yes, you need an entire book, start to finish.)
2. Determine what genre your book is. (No idea? Go to Barnes & Noble, find a couple of books that are closest to what you’ve written. Now, on the upper left of the back cover it will say, “Mystery” or “Literature.” That’s your genre.)
3. Find someone who will either a.) represent your work; in other words, an agent or b.) publish your work; in other words, a publisher. (Note: You need to match your genre to the agent/publisher’s area of interest. Every agent/publisher has specialties.)
4. Decide to self-publish.
Let’s break Step #3 down…
Getting an Agent
1. Determine which agents might represent your genre. a.) Look at those books that are like yours. Did they thank an agent? Probably. Now you have an agent’s name. Skip to Step #2 below. b.) Go online and Google “agents who represent (genre).” c.) Buy a copy of Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents for the current year. (Very important that it’s current.)
2. Approach the agent. a.) “Pitch” an agent at a writers’ conference. (Best way.) b.) Send a query letter either by email or regular mail. (Do NOT send your entire manuscript.)
Now you wait. And wait and wait.
Getting a Publisher Without Using an Agent
1. Determine which publishing houses handle your genre. a.) Look at those books that are like yours. The publisher’s name is on the book, and inside of it, too. (Note: You will want to address your correspondence to a specific editor within the publishing house. Often, an author will mention an editor by name in the acknowledgements.) b.) Go online and Google the publisher’s website. Many list their submission requirements. c.) Buy a copy of Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents for the current year and see if your target publisher accepts unagented submissions. (Again, it’s very important that your copy of Jeff Herman’s book be current.)
2. Send the publisher a letter either by email or regular mail. (Do NOT send your entire manuscript.)
And wait and wait and wait.
Yes, you are welcome to share this. (That’s why I included the headline twice, so it would be easy to copy and share.)