How to Find a Book Publisher

Publishing a debut novel or nonfiction book is the dream of every aspiring writer. While this goal might seem daunting, there are definitive and concrete steps on the path towards making your dream a reality: from actually creating a finished product to developing the necessary submission materials, all the way through actually finding an agent and publisher. By following a few simple strategies, your book will be available on shelves in no time!
[Edit]Steps [Edit]Preparing a Submission Package Write a query letter that introduces your protagonist and conflict. Your query letter is the most important part of the submission package you will be sending to prospective literary agents. Therefore, you want to be thorough and professional while also demonstrating that you have a unique quality that sets you apart from other writers in the genre. Give agents a reason to think you are exceptional! The key components of the query letter are:[1] General information about your book: title, word count, genre Description of the hook: introduce the protagonist and main conflict Brief bio: relevant writing credits, credentials, and awards. Prepare a synopsis of your book with an overview of the narrative. A book synopsis provides an overview of your novel’s entire narrative arc. This document reveals any major flaws in plot, conflict, and character development, and agents use it to determine if the events of the novel are realistic and make sense. A book synopsis should be approximately one page, and accomplish the following three purposes:[2] Show the character arc and motivations of the protagonist Give a clear idea of the core conflict, as well as what is driving it Demonstrate how the conflict is resolved, and how the protagonist has changed Build your writer’s platform by sharing your work with readers. A writer’s platform refers to the size of that writer’s existing audience. It is important to build up your own writer’s platform prior to sending your submission package because this demonstrates that you already have access to readers of your book. Good strategies for building a writer’s platform include:[3] Writing a blog Building your social media presence Sharing your work with local writing communities Find an agent by assessing your own creative values. Before choosing your representation, you should be confident that the agent shares your values. Ask yourself whether you prefer an agent with more resources and a large clientele or an independent agent who will invest more time in your work; whether you want an agent who will be active in the creative process or one who will focus primarily on the financial aspect instead. Then, identify strong candidates using online databases. These include: [Edit]Looking for Publishers Create a book proposal that highlights your marketability. Before you can find a publisher for your book, you need to prepare a book proposal. The book proposal is similar to the book synopsis, but it is more focused on financial viability — after all, you need to demonstrate that the publisher will make money from publishing your book. The four main components of a book proposal are:[4] A strong introduction, re-stating your writing credentials An outline of the structure of your book with a chapter-by-chapter analysis An overview of other books that address similar themes and are competing for the same readership An assessment of the market for your genre, as well as a specific marketing plan to sell your book Identify prospective publishers by researching other books in your genre. The most straight-forward way of finding a publisher for your manuscript is by researching books that are similar to yours. The publishers of these books are the ones who specialize in your genre and, therefore, are more likely to consider publishing your book as well. Query these publishers directly with your submission package.[5] Make publishing contacts by attending conferences and reaching out to peers. Publishing and writing conferences offer valuable opportunities to make connections within the publishing world. While publishing conferences offer greater access to the industry, writing conferences provide a more intimate setting for you to meet prospective publishers -- albeit on a much smaller scale. Additionally, writing conferences will allow you to meet other published writers who can then connect you with proven publishing resources.[6] Find prospective publishers by searching online databases. Online databases are yet another resource for contacting publishers. While these are the least personal option, they provide the greatest access to prospective publishers. Some trustworthy online databases include: [Edit]Choosing a Publisher Evaluate publishers by assessing their previous success. A publisher’s main responsibility after purchasing a manuscript is to market the book and, ultimately, sell as many copies as possible. A good indicator of publishing success, therefore, is to check your prospective publishers' book sales. Additionally, you should consider contacting other writers who have been published by the same publishers. Many are willing to advise fellow writers about a publisher’s strengths.[7] Compare philosophies by asking questions about their practice. When working with traditional publishers, writers give up a lot of creative control. Therefore, you should ask prospective publishers to articulate their philosophies and objectives for your manuscript. What matters to them, artistically? How do they plan on honoring your own wishes? Does it matter to you how much say you have in the final product? If so, find a publisher who is willing to listen.[8] Assess compatibility by attending a face-to-face meeting. When you have narrowed your list of prospective publishers to a few remaining finalists, you should arrange face-to-face meetings with all of them. In addition to getting definitive answers to your questions, these meetings allow you to determine if your personalities and styles are compatible. This is no small determination — after all, you will be interacting very closely with your agent![9] [Edit]References ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑