Tuesday, July 22, 2014

History of a Book, Part II

Let’s recap some of our recent blogs.

I tried to locate a literary agent for my novel, with no luck. I decided it was time to go directly to a publisher.

Before you send your request to a publisher, you have to figure out how to. I mean by this is; you have to send a letter to the publisher asking if they might be interested in publishing your book. Not being an author, I had little idea how to construct this letter. I went to the Internet and found examples of these kinds of letters. I combined the concept of several letters and created one specifically for me. So you know, most of my journey into being an author was assisted by the internet, thank goodness I did not live in the 1800’s.

The biggest step in this process, is finding a publisher for your book. This is the hardest part of your journey into becoming an author. When I started I was not on social media sites, I joined them after my publisher suggested that I should. You should join these sites before you submit to publishers. These sites will allow you to make contacts with other writers; they will assist you greatly. (Just remember if you yourself become a published author, be generous and pass your experiences on to others looking for help.) I further expand on how helpful social websites can be located down in the blog.

There are many publishers out there; the first thing I had to find out which of these handle fantasy novels. A simple Internet search will help you compile a list of publishers. Keep to this guideline: Do not send a novel to a publisher who does not handle your book’s genre, such as sending a fantasy novel to a publisher who only handles romance; it is an embarrassment to both of you.

In terms of embarrassment, you must check and recheck everything you send to a publisher. Make sure it looks professional without any grammatical or spelling errors. This is YOUR time to make an impression, and remember the person reading your submission is not looking to accept your letter; they are looking for a reason to reject it.

I have expressed this numerous times in this blog; there are many publishers (and agents and everyone in between) who are simply out there to take your money. Do your research on your potential publisher. You can find some wonderful websites with a ton of information and reviews about publishers, use them, and determine if you are dealing with a fair and legitimate publisher.

Now, there are some issues with this type of research. Some authors think that they are the reincarnation of William Shakespeare. These authors think they should get huge contracts and have control over every aspect of the publishing of their book, even though they have never published anything in their lives. They will criticize any publishers or agents who are not willing to give them a huge contract. As for me, I examined numerous publishers, keeping in mind that I am a first-time author; I am not going to get a great deal; I am looking just for a fair deal.

Instead of being judged by authors who had never worked with the publisher, I went directly to the authors who had been published by them. Remember my comment earlier about social media; sometimes you may find them on sites like Linkedin.com. After speaking with these authors and getting their input, I narrowed my list down based on their recommendations.

Now this is important! Review the publisher’s website to see if they are accepting submissions and read the directions carefully. Never send a publisher a query letter if they are not accepting submissions. Sending them one when they are closed is a pain for them to reply, and they may remember unfavorably when they are accepting submissions.

Make sure you follow the publisher’s guidelines. Most publishers want a synopsis of your novel and maybe 1 to 3 sample chapters. Make sure you send them what they are asking for. Never send the entire manuscript, unless they ask you for it, or it is in their guidelines. Remember the part above about them looking for a reason to reject your submission.

You will be rejected, get accustomed to it and accept it as fact. You should keep a log of the publishers who have rejected you, so you do not accidentally send them another letter: Remember the embarrassment part above.

Use the rejections as suggestions. If you are constantly being rejected maybe it is time for you to review your work and make adjustments. After I received a few, I rewrote my first chapter of my book numerous times.

After a long arduous journey, I was finally accepted by a publisher and received a contract. Again, I did not get the most I probably should have in this contract, but it was fair and the publisher was honest with me. Of all the characteristics, you should judge someone you deal with in the publishing world; honesty is the most important.

There are many other ways to get the attention of a publisher. Some authors go to conventions or writing seminars and meet with them directly. It does not matter how you do it, just remember to be persistent and to continue and put your best product out there for review.

My novel will be coming out shortly, if you want to join my mailing list or join a group dedicated to my novel, then send an email here: legendmysticknights@googlegroups.com

Next time: Pre-publishing promotion of your novel, or, I have no idea what to do now!


  1. Thanks again for all this insight William and congratulations for getting the job done through persistence and hard work. I imagine re-writing the first chapter was difficult as I am sure you thought it was good the way it was. Re-writing without any guidelines is kind of like shooting in the dark. All the best, Tim

  2. My original first chapter was not very exciting. I had used this chapter to set mood and the tone of the book or use it for a back story. Several publishers wanted only the first chapter, so I learned quickly that I had to hook the reader on the first page or two.

  3. The hook is everything, right? It's a learning curve, no doubt. But I admire that you are tackling it!!! Ans sharing it, too:)

  4. Glad you managed to find a publisher. Good luck with the book!

  5. I want to thank everyone for your congratulations and well wishes. I appreciate it very much.

  6. I like what you said about rejections. They are hard to take, but can be so helpful!

  7. William, this is an informative article. My mom recently wrote a book and is in the process of pitching it to agents. It's good to know that you can potentially go directly to the publishers as well.

    Thanks for all the information!

  8. Your persistence and willingness to learn along the way has paid off. I know it is common in the U.S. for first-time authors to get agents and not go directly to publishers and it is only recently I learned that authors can go directly to publishers themselves in many cases. In Canada, it is rare for a new author to get an agent - there aren't many literary agents in the country. Authors contact publishers directly.

  9. That is pretty awesome that you were able to find a publisher. It truly is a needle in a haystack kind of process, rejection being part of it. I love how you've laid it all out and the information may prove invaluable as I make my way in the book publishing world. :-)

  10. This is such a great guide for someone new in the writing world. I've never tried to write a book, but my years as an actress made me appreciate many of the tips you gave. I'm sure this will prove extremely handy for others who are wondering how to get a foot in the door.

  11. Hi; first, congress on being published and thanks for sharing your progress with us. second, your titles of future posts remind me of the end of the old rocky and bulwinkle episodes. thinking of that brought back good memories of saturday mornings kids cereals riding bikes all day. I think you took a very reasonable approach to finding your publisher and agreeing on a contract. Too many people fail to accept that a first time author will not be paid what an established one will and certainly won't have the control of the process. wishing you all the best, max

  12. I hope your book turns out great.

  13. Most small presses don't require an agent, so that's great you took it upon yourself to find one that would work for you. There are so many pros and cons to each type of publishing. It makes me queasy to think about all of it!

  14. Congrats on finding a publisher and for the novel. Social media can be great but it can also be a problem if you let.

  15. Thank you everyone for your congratulations and kind words. I hope that people will read my novel, but even if they don’t, it has been fun.
    I did choose a small publisher, and there are advantages and disadvantages to them. I had written in an earlier blog about this, but I will recap it in the next couple blogs
    Thanks again.

  16. Thanks for sharing all your tips on how to find a publisher. Glad you didn't give up and managed to find one and your book is being published. Congratulations.