We’ve spent some time talking about self-publishing. Before you write and before you decide that self-publishing is the path for you, it’s good to know the ins and outs of the publishing world. After all, how can you make an educated decision that self-publishing is best for you if you don’t know what traditional publishing is all about.
Here’s an overview of the steps to traditional publishing.
1. Write the book.
2. Edit the manuscript (preferably hire a professional to edit it).
3. Make revisions
5. Research publishers that might be appropriate for your book.
6. Determine, based on your research of the submission guidelines of each publisher, which publishers do not require manuscripts to be submitted by literary agents.
7. If the publisher you’re interested in does not require that a literary agent submit your material, submit your manuscript according to the publisher’s submission guidelines.
7.5. If the publishers of interest to you prefer to receive manuscripts from a literary agent, research literary agents who handle books similar to yours, follow their submission guidelines, and begin submitting your material to agents. If the first agent on your list does not take you on as a client, continue submitting your manuscript to other literary agents until you obtain representation.
8. After submitting your manuscript to a publisher, wait. If accepted, move on to the next step in their submission process. If rejected, repeat steps 7 and 8 until you receive an acceptance.
9. Once a publisher or agent accepts your submission, they will lead you through the remainder of the submission and revision process.
This list is one way to do it. An alternative is to decide to use a literary agent from the beginning. By doing so, you will have someone on your team to help you decipher a book contract when you receive one from a publisher. If you decide to go this route, begin researching literary agents early on and follow their submission guidelines.
Note: It is very important when submitting your work anywhere to follow the submission guidelines stated by the publisher or agent. It’s important to assume that they know best how they want material submitted to them. I’ve heard of many instances where manuscripts are rejected because someone didn’t follow the submission guidelines. It’s just a sign of respect to do so, and doing so will make your process much shorter.
In subsequent posts we will go into this and into self-publishing in more detail. If you have any particular questions, please leave those in the comments section.