From writing: “The End.” to seeing your novel published.
So you’ve finished your novel and have typed those magical words that read “The End.” Congratulations, get the Prosecco out and pop that cork!
If you haven’t finished yet, and feel a bit stuck, please feel free to comment below with your dilemma, and I’ll quite happily try and give you some advice.
In my experience the publication process, or rather finding a publisher has been by far the most challenging aspect of my writing experience. If you haven’t struggled to find a publisher, then believe me you’re one of the lucky ones! The majority of writers, before finding a publisher or agent, will have been rejected, not just once or twice, rather numerous times.
But, believe me, you WILL publish your work. In this day and age there are options for everyone. You just have to find the right path for you and your work. This post aims to share my experience with you, so that you can then choose the right course for your own creation and finally see your work in print.
The first step, and what any agent or publisher will advise is that your work is as polished as possible before you send it out. This doesn’t mean re-writing the start or ending billions of times and getting stuck there, rather making sure that it’s as good as it could be, that the grammar and structure is correct. You’ve spell checked it and that it’s typo free. This is your first “date” if you like, don’t just rock up in your sloppy tracksuit and muddy trainers! Believe me you won’t get a second chance to change that first impression.
Most agents / publishers will request the opening chapters. So, if you can, get someone you have confidence in proofread read it for you to double check those possible errors that often creep in.
Next step is to filter through agents and publishers who look for your type of genre. Please take your time over this. There are hundreds of agents and publishers to choose from (in the case of going straight to a publisher, please check that they accept unagented manuscripts, don’t waste your time, or theirs). And, like I’ve said, please make sure they publish your genre. You don’t want to send your “Erotica” novel to a publisher who only takes on “Children’s short stories” I mean, it just won’t go down well at all!
You may want to try out the following link for *agents:
And for publishers:
*These are UK agents, U.S or other can easily be found on Google, just Google “literary agents” and the country of your choice. Please also note that the above links are just two examples, there are many links out there to browse through.
Another great resourse for Writers is the Writer’s Digest. Celebrating the Writing Life and What it Means to be a Writer in Today’s Publishing Environment. http://www.writersdigest.com/
Once you’ve got a number of companies to contact and that you’ve checked that they work with your genre, write out a “personal” introduction letter. When I say personal I don’t mean “Let’s make this personal and meet me behind the school grounds at midnight” Or “I want to get personal, what are you doing tomorrow night?” You risk awakening a virtual hand, which will pop out of your screen and give you a good smack on the head.
What I mean is, don’t send out a standard letter that has obviously been copied and pasted to all these contacts before. You’ve got a good chance it won’t get passes the person reading: “To whom it may concern.” Rather, find out the name of the person in charge of submissions and direct your query letter to that person in particular. Most also appreciate a comment on how you came across their company.
Make the submission letter informative in reference to your work, but keep it BRIEF. Most agents and publishers can receive up to 40 + query letters per day. Now, I’ve never been a whiz at arithmetic, but this is pretty basic maths: 40 x 5 (let’s make it a 5 day working week) = 200 manuscripts per week. Your basic employee will be working a 40 hour week. That’s 5 query letters to get through per hour . Dedicating an average of 12 minutes (not counting “wee” stops) per e-mail, (opening/ reading and deciding course of action). It takes me longer just trying to decide which shoes to wear in the mornings! So it’s quite a feat to get through all those submissions on a daily basis!
These facts and figures aren’t meant to demoralize your hopes in finding an agent / publisher, but it helps to keep your feet on the ground and prepare yourself for the rejections and not take them personally. Keep insisting….YOU’LL GET THERE IN THE END.
In my case, I could probably wallpaper a good part of my sitting room with rejection letters and still have some to frame. Actually, thinking about it, I should probably frame some of the nice replies. Considering that the replies are usually standard replies sent out by the thousand, if you receive a more personal reply take it as something positive. You’re doing something right and it’s just a question of time for someone to request your complete manuscript. Remember, keep your toes on the floor, not every agent / publisher who requests to read a full MS will take the writer on in the end. But it’s a HUGE step and the reply, if negative, will be informative and constructive. DON’T GIVE UP! I can’t say it enough!
Believe in your work, believe in yourself….
“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” Richard Bach
And then, after months of e-mail torture and nail-biting web searching, you receive the email of your dreams; that your work has been accepted for publication! And that, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the most magical and incredible moments you’ll feel in this whole step to publication.
It has taken me longer to find a publisher than it did for me to actually write my book! And I still sometimes sit in awe and wonder if I have, in fact, dreamt the whole thing up!
My debut novel A LITTLE OF CHANTELLE ROSE, a Romantic Comedy, will be released through CROOKED CAT BOOKS on the 4th May 2017.
COME TO MY ON LINE LAUNCH PARTY!
Just click on the following link:
My search for a publisher has ended here, but there are two other options that can be considered if you feel you have completely exhausted these more traditional publishing options.
There seem to be quite a few “Hybrid” publishers to choose from. These are companies that sell themselves as “Traditional” publishers but, if they feel necessary, may ask for a start-up fee to help launch your work. My only advice here would be: “Please proceed with caution!” Read everything carefully before signing. Google the companies, see what people are saying about them. Is the general feedback positive? Contact some of the authors to find out from them, some first hand experience…do your research!
The other possible option, that’s quite popular, is self publishing. There are (pros and cons)
Self Publishing Pros
- Paid once a month
- You control price and cover
- Publication is almost instant (traditional can take up to 10 months)
- Easy to implement changes
- Every decision is yours (great if you like being “The Boss”)
- Great royalty rates
- Anyone can do it
Self Publishing Cons
- No free professional editing, formatting, or cover art
- Fewer sales
- Less than 10% of current book market
- You’ll have to do all the marketing on your own.
Whatever your final decision, I hope you’ve found this post helpful and if you feel I can help you in any other way, please feel free to drop me an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or comment below.
Good luck! Don’t give up, you’ve got a dream…now make it a reality!