If you’re new to the publishing world, it’s alright to feel completely overwhelmed and lost at times. The publishing world can often feel like a foreign country to beginners or sometimes even its own planet. All the greatest writers had to start somewhere before they became a published author, and trust me they all felt the exact same way you are. At least now we have Google to guide us, right?
The business of publishing is quite interesting from the outside looking in, but if you haven’t had the opportunity to publish your first novel, you may be a little weary of what to do and where to go. The intimidation (and/or high level of anxiety) of sending your manuscript to a literary agency or one of the big five publishers should not discourage you. It’s an exciting time to finally be able to bring your hard work to life. At HRM, we develop submission plans for our authors that would best showcase their work while making sure we target the best potential editors for a successful deal. We have constructed a list of things that we keep in mind when searching for publishers for our authors. Perhaps this will make the submission process tad bit less scary: Who’s going to be YOUR target? Before you even start the submission process, you need to reflect on the manuscript you’ve produced. You probably thought about it before writing it, but if you haven’t, ask yourself: who would I want to read my masterpiece? What genre can I market this book as? These few questions can help narrow down the search in publishing options.
- Be aware of your online presence! In this technology-based era, publishing has turned towards audio, e-books, and other new forms of reading options. As for authors, becoming more active online can help you grow a fanbase much better than word-of-mouth (although that definitely still happens too). This helps publishers see how popular you are amongst peers/fans. If you already have a built in fan base, that’s a huge plus for publishers.
- Know how publishing houses work… Each house is different. Sometimes they market to a certain age group or focus on publishing a particular genre. Search the publishing house website for their company goal; therefore you can compare your own goals as a writer to those of the house.
- Check the performance of the house… Once you’ve narrowed down a list of publishers you envision yourself publishing with, research some previously published books by these particular publishers and how well they sold. See if they marketed the book correctly online as well as how they presented the book to the public.
- If you need help with PR, check out the houses PR department. If online presence has been a struggle for you, a publisher’s PR department is going to be important to you. When you’re checking the performance of the house on their social media accounts, check what they post about, how people react to it, and if it is done effectively. If nothing else, it can assist in your own social media brand and following.
- Don’t feel discouraged from rejection! If there is one thing you should expect in any industry, it is rejection. Accepting your defeat doesn’t mean you’ve given up…it just means you’re onto the next, and hopefully better, one!
- Last, but not least…HAVE OTHER PUBLISHING OPTIONS!!!!! Sending your manuscript to ONE publisher makes landing a publishing deal impossible. Send your manuscript to ten, maybe even twenty possible publishers, and see what kind of reaction you get from there. If you don’t receive any bites, do a second or even third round of submissions. Finding the right editor for your work is a formula that could take months or years to figure out. Be prepared to explore other options, even if it’s a completely different route than you had originally planned. Stepping stones will always assist in you getting to your end goal, even if it takes a few extra steps along the way.