You’ve finished writing your next best-seller. After at least 5 revisions, read-throughs by your friends, family and beta groups, you are ready to find a publisher! Not any publisher will do. You want the perfect publisher for your baby. Here is a short list of what to do:
1. Make a list of potential publishers.
Do not send your query letter and full manuscript to every single publisher you can think of or find on the internet or in The Writers’ Market.
Research your options. Always. You know the contents of your book; you know what audience it will most likely appeal to. Narrow your publisher choices by figuring out where your book will best fit. Obviously, you won’t be sending your non-fiction, self-help book on dieting to a Romance Publisher.
2. READ the submission guidelines of your top choices. Not all publishers have open submissions. Most publishers have different guidelines for submissions.
Many publishers request “no simultaneous submissions.” This means, if you send your book to Publisher A, do not also send it to Publishers B, C, and D. Be respectful of Publisher A’s rules, and wait for a response. If you don’t want to deal with a “no simultaneous submission” policy, avoid those publishers who have such policies.
3. Expect a rejection. As painful as it is for an author to hear this, rejections are inevitable. Be ready for at least 10 rejections before an acceptance/contract offer.
A normal response to rejection is to lash out that horrible publisher that did not have the same vision of greatness for your work burning in their brains, and to write a nasty response to the rejection. DON’T DO IT. A nasty response will…
a. …destroy any chance of submitting future works to that publisher.
b. …make you look like a petty, egotistical maniac.
c. …possibly not even be read by anyone at all, so why waste the energy?
On the other hand, a polite “thank you for reviewing my work” in response to a rejection can…
a. …keep up the appearance that you know how publishing works.
b. …make you look grateful and willing to learn and adjust.
c. …possibly be read by someone who would be willing to give specific pointers on how to improve your work even more!
The most important thing an author needs when submitting work to a publisher is…Patience. Most publisher websites will have information on how long the submission process will take, and when to expect a response. Constantly emailing or calling a publisher will not speed up that process. Publishers (depending on size of publishing house) can receive hundreds of submissions per week.
There is a process, and there are many factors as to how quickly your work will be reviewed/considered. It is definitely acceptable to contact the publisher if the expected response time has lapsed. Make sure your note is professional and courteous. It is good to remember that publishing houses are run by people. People are human. Humans have lives outside of the publishing world: families, appointments, health issues… Patience and understanding go a long, long way.