am asked often: How can I get published?
answer is not: Write a great book.
a great book is not reason enough, unfortunately, for its publication. Besides,
how does a publisher even know your book exists or if it is great? Publishers,
and the literary agents that bring prospects to them, want to know not just
whether a book is great, but if it is marketable. They want to know how the
author will be instrumental, not merely involved, in the book’s promotion.
we outline what is needed to get published these days, let’s explore how most publishers
most publishers, especially the Big 5, rarely look to the submissions slush pile
to pick out a gem. They depend on literary agents to pimp manuscripts and
authors they have already told those agents that they want.
most literary agents will only represent an author if they feel the author can deliver
what the publisher is demanding. For some, this comes down to some concrete
metrics, including but not limited to:
sales record if the author was published.
of the author’s network/platform, such as social media follower numbers.
level of the book and how it stacks up to competitors.
the author sounds like he or she can sell a certain number of books though
his/her connections, memberships, job, etc.
indication by the author that he/she will buy a certain number of books.
quantity and quality of testimonials gathered by the author.
record of past media exposure for the author (are you promotable?)
author’s stated commitment to promote the book, perhaps even hire a publicist.
rights potential of the book: foreign, film, audio, etc.
the picture? It is all business.
are publishers that will take a chance on someone who is not packaged up and
ready to sell 10,000 copies, but their number is dwindling. Still, there are
small presses, indie publishers, university presses, and niche publishers that will
publish books that they believe are well written by qualified authors but who
lack a guaranteed bulk-sale purchase or a certainty of media coverage. In other
words, they publish on the merits of the content, not necessarily solely on the
built-in sales guarantee. Some of these publishers may not rely on the filter
of a literary agent, either.
one way to get published is to publish it yourself, show some success with
sales, media exposure, and social media – and then use that track record to
convince a literary agent to represent you on a new book idea.
you want to win over a literary agent or publisher, you will need to prepare
personalized query letter is a one-page letter that cuts to the chase. It has
five paragraphs, essentially stating this:
paragraph – why you sought them out and believe they would be great to
your book is about – keep it short
you are qualified to write it – don’t give a resume
such a book would sell – highlight how many millions fit the reader
paragraph – request to share sample chapters, that you welcome to discuss
details, or are happy to provide a book proposal
book proposal offers details to the key areas that a publisher or agent will
need in order to see to be convinced you are worth working with.
book proposal is a combination of resume/ track record, vision/promise for the future,
and a summary of what your book is, and how it compares to what it is in the
proposals are dozens of pages long. The good ones include:
bio (highlight accomplishments, not hobbies)
summary (one paragraph per chapter)
of target readership demographics
of comparable titles
to purchase books – if that is the case
sample chapter and a table of contents
of a platform -- (speaker) or network (social media or organizational
memberships), or voice (media clips)
line – you must establish that you have a great/unique/new book, that you are
ideally positioned to write it, that the time is right for it to debut, that
there is a strong marketplace for it, and that you will personally secure
sales/media for it. Then they may say yes. Maybe.
learn more about what it will take to get published, ask a publisher, literary
agent, or author. Read Writer’s Digest, Publishers Weekly, Poets &
Writers, or The Writer. Check out Writer’s Market: 2021.
Attend writer conferences or publishing seminars. Learn and be empowered.
Read, Read, Read!!
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Successfully Marketing Books
Brian Feinblum, the
founder of BookMarketingBuzzBlog, can be reached at email@example.com. His
insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in
this terrific blog are the product of his genius. You can – and should --
follow him on Twitter @theprexpert. He feels much more important when
discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog
©2020. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His
writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The
Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by
BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and
recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs.
Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently
hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo.