A book publisher is a company or individual who publishes books that they have acquired through a contract with the author. This can be accomplished in several ways, either by paying an advance against royalties or by paying royalties on each copy sold. The goal of most traditional publishers is to sell as many copies of a work as possible, even if that means sacrificing quality for quantity.
In today's digital age, however, this business model is changing. New companies are popping up every day that focus on publishing works written by authors who want to maintain creative control over their work without sacrificing sales potential or profits from book sales and other related products like audiobooks and translation rights deals. In this post, we will give you some tips on how to find book publishers that might be right for your project:
Know the difference between traditional and self-publishing.
The first step in finding the right book publisher for you is to understand the difference between traditional and self-publishing.
Traditional publishers are likely to be more selective than self-publishing companies, which often accept books by anyone who submits a manuscript. Many of these companies make their money by selling ebooks and print books on Amazon, so they have no incentive to select only high-quality manuscripts. In fact, many don’t even edit their clients' work! It's better to get your book edited before you submit it anywhere else; otherwise, you risk having your work rejected because of typos or poor formatting.
Self-publishing companies have lower costs than traditional publishers because they don't pay authors an advance (although some do offer royalties). This makes them attractive options for people who want complete creative control over their work but aren't confident enough in themselves yet as authors.
Understand the pros and cons of traditional book publishing.
One of the pros of traditional publishing is that you don’t have to pay anything upfront. You will get a bigger share of the profits, but you won’t be able to control much else without some serious negotiating skills and knowledge about how book publishing works.
The cons are pretty obvious: there is no guarantee that your book will sell well or even make it onto shelves in stores at all, especially if it's not a popular topic or genre. The publisher will decide on cover design and marketing strategies for your book—so there may be no room for input from you here either!
Compile a list of potential publishers.
Your next step is to compile a list of potential publishers. You’re looking for publishers who have previously successfully published books like the one you want to write and that are currently accepting submissions in your category. To find these kinds of publishers, there are several things you can do:
Check out their websites and see if they offer submission guidelines on their site. If so, read through those guidelines carefully, paying close attention to the words they use (they may include “novel” or “nonfiction”) and any mention of what they consider when deciding whether or not to accept a manuscript.
Check out the publisher's track record by searching online bookstores or databases such as Publisher's Marketplace (www.publishersmarketplace.com), which maintains lists of recent deals and other information about individual publishers' interest in particular types of manuscripts and authorship teams. A great deal about each company's business model can be gleaned from their rosters over time — how many titles have been published by each imprint? How long has it been since their last acquisition? Are there any consistent trends that show up across all imprints? Do most acquisitions come from debut authors with few-to-no prior publishing credits, who would likely benefit from some guidance early on in their careers? Or does it seem like most acquisitions come from established writers whose work already fits comfortably within a certain niche genre or style?
Research how your book will fit into each publisher's current catalog.
You should also research how your book will fit into each publisher's current catalog. Your goal is to find a publisher that has experience with similar books and authors and that can help you get the best deal for your work.
Publishers are constantly reviewing their existing catalogs to see which books are performing well and which ones are not. If you have an idea of what type of books publishers in your space typically publish, it will be easier for you to put together a pitch that they will want to read.
In addition, by understanding the types of books popular within your genre or area of interest (such as nonfiction), you'll quickly learn which types aren't selling as well—and use this information when selecting which publishing opportunities seem like good matches for your manuscript.
Research advance and royalty amounts for your proposed book.
Research advance and royalty amounts for your proposed book.
In the world of publishing, there are a variety of factors that affect whether or not an author will earn royalties on their book sales. According to Publishing Basics by Mark Levine, these factors include "the size of your print run (if you're self-publishing), price points, and how many books sell."
When trying to decide who to sign with as they publish their work, authors should carefully consider what kind of deal they're getting into. Advance amounts can vary widely from one publisher to another; some companies may pay very little up front while others offer six-figure advances (and everything in between). Once your book gets published, royalties will also vary depending on many factors like sales volume and pricing structure for different editions.
Write a query letter.
The query letter is the first contact you make with a publisher, so you need to get it right. It's an opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd and show a publishing house what your book is about in 500 words or less. The query letter should include:
A brief summary of your book that includes its genre, target audience, word count, estimated reading time, and any other relevant information (for example, if it's illustrated).
A one-line hook describing what makes your book unique. This can be anything from something quirky like "a murder mystery set in outer space" or something more straightforward like "an entertaining tale of friendship."
An explanation of why this story is important now and how readers would benefit from reading it now rather than waiting several years until they finish university or graduate school before getting into adult fiction or nonfiction books -- whatever genre yours falls into!
Submit your query letter to publishers.
Once you've created your query letter, it's time to submit it! Send your query letter to as many publishers as possible. After all, no one knows what kind of publisher is right for you better than you do. The more submissions the better; this will help increase your chances of finding a publisher that matches well with your book and ideas.
When submitting your query, be sure to include:
A cover letter (which should include an author bio)
A synopsis of the book in question
A brief marketing plan (this should include how much money you plan on investing in marketing)
A brief marketing budget
Wait for responses from publishers.
Once you've sent out your proposal, wait for a response. It can take anywhere from a few days to several months to hear back from publishers—and unfortunately, there's no real way to predict how long it will be.
If you don't hear anything within a month of sending your proposal and contacting the publisher by phone or email within two weeks after that, then you're probably not going to get published by them (unless they were planning on publishing your work but didn't have enough time). Move on and look elsewhere!
If you do hear back from them in less than six months' time...well, good luck! Now comes the hard part: negotiating terms with each different publisher until someone agrees on terms that are mutually beneficial for both parties involved in this process called “getting published.”
Send an outline or partial manuscript to publishers who request one.
Send a sample of your work to publishers who request one. If a publisher requests a sample, follow their guidelines closely and send them what they ask for. If you don't send what they're looking for, it'll be hard for them to see if you're the right fit for their company or not.
Wait for feedback on your partial manuscript or outline from the publishers who request one.
Once your manuscript has been submitted, wait for feedback from the publishers who requested one. This can take several weeks or a few months, depending on how many manuscripts they receive each day and whether or not you're willing to pay extra for faster service.
If a publisher doesn't respond at all, don't give up hope! They may have received too many submissions that day and missed yours. You can try contacting them again with another email message asking if they received your submission, but it's best not to be pushy about it unless you really need an answer right away (for example, if there is a deadline).
If a publisher does give feedback—positive or negative—don't let it discourage you. It's just one opinion among many that will help make the final decision about whether or not your book gets published! If they reject your manuscript outright without giving any specific reasons why then perhaps their standards aren't compatible with yours after all; maybe this isn't the right fit for either party.
If a publisher indicates interest, write sample chapters and send them along with a book proposal that includes a synopsis, table of contents, and author's background information.
Don't send the whole manuscript unless requested.
Don't send more than one chapter.
Don't send the entire book proposal unless requested.
Don't send the whole book unless requested.
If you're working on a book and want to publish it, there are many options. It's important to understand the differences between self-publishing and traditional publishing so that you can choose the one that works best for you. Take a look at all the publishers available before making any decisions about which one would be best for your manuscript.