How can I get published?
There are a ton of sites on the Internet, as well as books and magazines that describe how to break into publishing. Before you try, make sure your manuscript is as good as it can possibly be. Then make sure you’re sending it to magazines or book publishers who publish your sort of story. Check out the Resources for Writers for more information. For those of you who are young, you can also check out the Resources for Young Writers. Good luck!
Was it easy to get your book published?
Click Here was accepted by the first publisher who saw it and they also published Access Denied. But,Click Here was the SIXTH novel I’d written – the other five were all practice and not even close to good enough. And Fact of Life #31 wasn’t a good fit for that publisher and was rejected by a few publishers before Knopf/Random House picked it up.
I read a lot of books, got feedback on my work, revised a TON, attended conferences, did research on which publishers might be interested in my book, sent my work out, and got LOTS of rejections. It’s important to make sure the book is the best it can be because the competition is very fierce. Check out the Writers page on my website for some ideas. I would encourage you to find someone you trust read your novel and give you feedback. Finishing a draft is just the beginning. You really need to get other opinions to see what’s working and what isn’t and then revise before you send it out to a publisher.
I revise or rewrite (that means completely starting over!) each novel at least 10-15 times. Revision means re-visioning your work and in my case, I often remove entire characters, chapters, or plotlines from a book! It’s a long process but worth it.
Should I send my manuscript to every publisher or try to narrow it down?
You definitely don’t want to send out your manuscript to every publisher – this will show you have not done your homework and will not present you as a professional. ALWAYS check publisher online catalogs or bookstores to see what they have published recently, then go read some of these books. See where your book fits. Some publishers only publish nonfiction, or cookbooks, or fantasy novels. You want to make sure you’re targeting the right publishers. Once you’ve got an appropriate list, read the publisher’s writers guidelines so you know how they want to receive material. Some want a query (just a letter giving a brief synopsis of the book – search online for more information on queries).
My book is on a specific topic. How do i find out which publishers might be interested?
You didn’t say whether it was fiction or nonfiction so I will talk about both.
NONFICTION: If you are writing nonfiction (a how to or coping book or something like that), go to bookstore sites and sites like JacketFlap and perform a search on your topic. See what other books have been published on that topic. Read as many of these books as you can so you know how yours is different. There are lots of books that share a topic; the trick for you as a writer is to make sure yours is different and to be able to say why.
FICTION: If you are writing a story or novel and you are passionate about it, WRITE IT FIRST. Do NOT go out and see what novels have been written on the topic. Once you’ve written your story or book, then take a look at what has already been published on that topic (search as described in the NONFICTION answer) so you can speak to those books and let the publisher know why yours is different. Write what you are passionate about.
Should I self publish to avoid so much rejection?
The people I work with in the publishing industry are wonderful and very nice, but it’s definitely competitive and you have to really have the best work possible to even have a chance at getting a book published.
There are pros and cons to self-publishing. Obviously, if you self-publish, you aren’t going to get rejected! But you will have to pay for the cost of getting it printed, etc and do all of your own marketing and selling, which can be very time-consuming. But you also get to keep all the profits!
I prefer going the traditional route because the publisher helps me put out the best book possible through all the steps – revision, copyediting and page proofs as well as sending my books out to get reviews. Books published by traditional publishers get a lot more attention in different places than self-published books, though that is changing. I may consider self-publishing if the book gets a lot of rejections or it’s something I want total control over. But I would pay for all the services my publisher now performs, which means hiring an editor to help me revise, a copyeditor to catch my mistakes, a designer to create the cover and set the manuscript for printing and/or e-books. My readers deserve the best book I can possibly give them so these services would be imperative.
So What About E-Books?
This is becoming more and more popular as the cost for creating a good e-book comes down. You can find resources online on how to format your manuscript for the different platforms (Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Sony Reader, etc) or pay someone or a company to do it for you (sometimes they will take a percentage of every sale). Again, if I went this route, just like if I self-published, I would pay for all the services my publisher now performs, which means hiring an editor to help me revise, a copyeditor to catch my mistakes, a designer to create the cover and set the manuscript for printing and/or e-books. My readers deserve the best book I can possibly give them so these services would be imperative.
Will using profanity in a young adult novel prevent it from getting published?
We know that many young people use profanity and if it fits with the characters, an author will include that in his or her book. However, some publishers shy away from using profanity in books targeted at younger readers because many schools won’t carry them in their libraries so the publisher loses sales. Even if your book is about a 6th or 7th grader, readers as young as 8 or 9 might read it, as was the case with Click Here, which was marketed as a book for 8-12 year olds, though I recommend it for 5th grade and up. My publisher asked me to change some profanity I had in the book (spoken by Erin’s older brother, Chris) because of my audience. I agreed, as it didn’t really make that much difference to me. If it had, I would have fought for it.
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