So, you’ve finally finished writing your novel or story, and you’ve done all the re-writes, all the edits, those little tweaks, and changes. You probably think all the hard work is finally over, right?
Well, I might have some bad news for you.
Sure, the hard graft is done to a degree, however, finding a publisher who’ll present your story to the world really isn’t as easy as it seems. It’s going to take a lot of dedication and determination, some pretty thick skin, and a whole lot of patience.
It’s difficult. But not impossible.
One of the most important things to remember is that someone saying no doesn’t mean giving up. It doesn’t mean your story is bad and you should never give up.
The word no will become pretty common and you can’t let that hold you back. You have to keep trying.
J. K. Rowling was rejected by 12 different publishers, Stephen King by 30, and Dr. Seuss was rejected by 27. You just have to keep pushing until you find the publisher that sees something in you.
But where do you find publishers to begin with? You’ll find out in this article.
How To Find Publishers
1. Researching Publishing Houses That Are A Good Fit
When looking for publishers, it’s imperative that you seek out ones that fit your personal style, tone, and genre. There’s no point submitting a romance novel to a publishing house that specializes in the horror genre. It’s not going to be accepted.
You’ll want to evaluate your story. Does it remind you of a particular published author you love? Then research their publisher. Is it similar to other stories within your chosen genre?
Research their publishers. You’re looking for publishers that are already inclined to publish work similar to yours to give you the best chances.
And while online research is a good starting point, you will want to get out at meet as many publishers as possible in person. Networking is absolutely essential.
Book events and festivals will rarely disappoint. You’ll find tons of authors and publishers attending.
2. Submitting The Right Thing
Pretty much any publishing house will have guidelines of what they are looking for on their website. If you want even the smallest of chances of getting your book published, you’ll want to adhere to these guidelines exactly.
Some publishers allow unsolicited submissions, some don’t. Some will have genre requirements, some want a CV, and some a summary of your story. Familiarize yourself with what it is the publishing house wants from you and deliver it.
If your submission goes against these guidelines, it’ll be tossed aside.
Remember it’s a cut-throat world in publishing, so don’t waste or ruin one of your chances by not doing the correct research.
3. Write A Good Query Letter
A well-written query letter is vital for finding publishers. This is where you get publishers or agents excited about what you have to offer.
You’ll want to briefly describe your plot along with why you’re the right person to write about the subject. And that is even more important if you are writing a non-fiction book.
Remember you’re not trying to condense the entire plot into a few paragraphs. Give the main highlights and the general gist. Keep it short, snappy, and intriguing.
You want to really think about your strengths and then sell yourself to your potential publisher. Why should they invest their time and money into you?
And please remember that you are representing yourself and your story in your query letter. Ensure there are no grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. This is your chance to show them what you’ve got so make it perfect.
4. Be Patient
If you are impatient, you will never find a publisher. Ever. This can be quite a difficult reality check to come to terms with, but you’re going to get knocked down a lot. You’ll receive many nos before you get that all-important yes.
And for a long time, you won’t even get an answer. Typically, unsolicited manuscripts get placed in something known as a slush pile.
This is essentially a big pile of tons of manuscripts that publishers will get around to reading in their own time. It is not unusual for it to take up to 2-3 years for a book to get published, and sometimes it can take even longer.
So don’t give up in the absence of a reply. Keep researching publishers and keep sending out your manuscript.
5. Be Open To Feedback
Remember that thick skin I talked about earlier. If you want to find a publisher that’s going to print your book, you’ll need to be open to some criticism.
And this can be a little brutal sometimes, especially when you adore the manuscript that you’ve dedicated so much time to.
But before you even sign on the dotted line for your publishing deal, you can bet you’ll receive some constructive criticism and advice as to how to improve your story.
This can often be a test for the publisher to see how well you’ll respond during the laborious editing process. If you can’t handle making the necessary changes now and taking those complaints on the chin, it’s likely that your story won’t get published.
And there you have it. Finding publishers and ensuring you get that all-important yes, isn’t an easy road. I won’t lie to you and tell you that the hard work is over.
The research and dedication to finding publishers can be long and grueling, but the reward is so worth it once you get to hold that physical copy of your book that is on the shelves.
Resilience and perseverance are key here. Don’t take the setbacks personally and keep pushing. At some point, you’ll find the match you’ve been looking for.
So get scouring the internet and attending book festivals, and who knows, a best-seller might be on its way!