There are several ways that an author can get their book published today. Gone is the stigma of self-publishing. There are also boutique publishers, traditional publication houses, literary agents, and other small-to-medium publishers out there who might be willing to take a look at what you’ve got. Digital publishing also puts authorship within reach for many writers.
That means your first step in finding a publisher is to create a book that is commercially ready for publication. Go through the editing process several times before submitting the book for consideration. Format it according to industry standards. Then you’ll be ready to take these steps so you know how to find a publisher for your book.
#1. Determine the genre for your book.
Is your book fiction or non-fiction? Is it a mystery? A thriller? A romance? By knowing which category the publishing industry will classify your book, you’ll have a better idea of the readers your narrative will need to target. When you can make your book feel like a personal message to the reader, it will have a better chance of being successful.
#2. Understand what your pitch needs to be.
If you’re writing a non-fiction book, then you’ll need to create a full book proposal when contacting publishers. This means discussing marketing methods, target audiences, examining similar books in the industry, and other marketing work you can do on your own. For fiction books, you need to have a full summary of the book and a short bio, but do it in 300 words or less in most instances.
#3. Look for publishers that are accepting works from your genre.
Publishers [and most literary agents] tend to specialize in specific literary categories. A romance publisher will not likely take your action/thriller book. So you’ll need to look for publishers that are taking open submissions within your genre to get it looked at. The same is true for literary agents, who will then represent your work to publishers.
#4. Decide if self-publishing is right for you.
If you’ve submitted your book to several publishers and been rejected more times than you can count, then you might believe that self-publishing is the right way to publish your book. There are several houses that will self-publish at different rates with different book options – it’s all about what you can afford and how good of a presentation you can create.
#5. If cost is an issue, digital publishing might be the best option.
If you are unable to afford self-publishing to create real books, but you still want to get your work published, then digital publishing is your potential ticket to success. Options like KDP from Amazon can help you take your document file and turn it into a published e-book for sale in 48 hours or less.
#6. What makes your book different is what makes it better… or worse.
Many publishers today tend to avoid books that are 120k words or greater in size – especially from first-time authors. Poetry is almost never accepted until you have an established authorship in the market. Non-fiction books won’t be accepted if you don’t have expertise credentials in that field. These are bad ways to stand out. Look for good ways, like a unique angle on a popular theme, to stand out instead.
#7. Locate the publishers/agents that meet the criteria from the previous steps.
There are several sites that can help you sort through publishers and agents based on genre and expertise. Query Tracker, Duotrope, Agent Query, Publishers Marketplace, and Writers Market tend to be the most useful.
#8. Make sure that you follow all submission guidelines.
If your book does not follow the submission guidelines that have been laid out for you, then you are 99.999% guaranteed to have your book rejected. Even self-publishing houses will reject books which do not meet submission guidelines. If there are zero guidelines offered, then follow the industry standards for formatting a manuscript.
#9. Keep things in perspective.
Many writers fail to sell their first manuscript. Sometimes it isn’t even the second or third that will sell. If you have a passion for writing, then keep going. Someone will accept you eventually. When you can identify a market and write for it, that will provide you the best chance to eventually succeed. Then you can pull out those older manuscripts and get them published because your name has a market pull for it.
Knowing how to find a publisher for a book means having a great manuscript. Then you must target agents and publishers who are experts within your genre. If you do that, eventually you will be accepted for publication – even if you have to publish on your own.