Written By Alexandra Romanov

Top 10 Tips for Getting Your Book Published

One of the greatest book series of modern times was rejected over and over before it was provisionally accepted. Even Stephen King has had his share of rejections. Elizabeth Kostova made headlines when her first book, The Historian, generated a $1 million advance. It was big news because it had never happened before. New authors need to be prepared to face rejection many times over. There are ways to improve your publication chances but there are no ways to completely eliminate the chance for rejection.

Don’t scrimp on the pitch

Oddly enough, your book is not really the most important thing you will write. The pitch to the editor will need to be crafted with as much care as your book. When you submit your book for consideration you will include your pitch. This has to be enticing enough to get someone at the publishing house to actually read your book. A dull pitch and chances are your book will be dumped or deleted. At any given point there are thousands of books looking for a publisher. You need to make sure that your pitch to the editor stands out and catches their attention immediately.

Send it to the correct person

This is the 21st century so there is no real excuse to not know the right place to send your book. If it’s a cookbook then send it to the publisher of that division and send it to them by name. You can find all of that on their websites or through a Google search. No, it will not go directly to them but it will go to their assistant. Send it to the wrong person and there is a good chance that it will simply be ignored. Take the 5 minutes needed to locate the proper person and place.

Generate media buzz before you even send it off

This is a little tricky but not impossible. You can start building buzz on Twitter, Facebook and even Tumblr. A little pre-promotion and you can add that information to the pitch letter. Be sure and include information about where to find the buzz if you are sending a conventional letter; links if you are emailing.

If you are wondering how to do this, consider a novella. For those new to the lingo, a novella is a long, short story. Once you finish your book, write a novella to go along with it. Maybe some type of back story for a main character like Harry Potter. Perhaps you could craft a story about his parents and the events leading up to his arrival on Privet Drive. It doesn’t have to be long, just enough to generate interest. Posted to your blog, tweeted on Twitter and mentioned on Facebook is all that would be necessary to get some buzz going.

Try a smaller publishing house

Most new writers want the prestige of a major publishing house to accept their book. If you think about it, they get thousands of submissions, can only publish a few of them and favor established writers. This makes sense because any business prefers the sure thing to the unknown. Smaller publishing houses can be the perfect place for the new writer because they often have the opposite problem: not enough submissions. They also have the problem of losing authors to the big name houses as soon as they get established. They are far more willing to take a chance on a new author.

Consider a specialty publishing house

If your book falls into a specialty category, consider focusing your attention on being published by a house that specializes on your category. Rodale specializes in health and wellness. If that is the focus of your book then you should consider submission to them or a similar house. There is an added benefit here in that specialty publishers tend to be more adept at their specialty than a more general publishing house. In addition, those who read that category are probably aware of them and seek out their newest booklist.


Self-publishing has come a long way in the past 25 years. It used to be that so-called “vanity presses” were an embarrassing way to get your book published when no one else wanted it. Now you can just create your own publishing house, publish your book and go from there. Marketing and distribution are easier now than ever before and you can do quite well. In many cases authors have done so well that when big name publishing houses came calling they actually opted to decline and continue on their own. There is actually a publishing option through Amazon.com that sells books on a per copy basis.

Publish as an e-book

This sort of goes along with self-publishing but at the same time is in a class entirely of its own. While you can sell a physical book on a per copy basis, e-books have taken the world by storm. In May of 2011, Amazon announced that for the first time ever e-books were outselling physical books. This trend has continued and exploded since then. There are two primary reasons for this, cost and instant gratification. E-books are cheaper, we all know that. It’s the instant gratification that is the big hook. You select the book, hit the “buy” button and within a few seconds you are reading your new book. People love this and as a new and unknown writer the lower cost will make many people take the chance with you.

Hire a professional editor

Some people are very good at crafting a story or explaining complex issues so that a layperson can understand them. Unfortunately those people often aren’t the best at grammar and spelling. In other cases you might just need another set of eyes to go over your work. There are also times when you need to see if someone who isn’t as intimately connected to your work understands what you wrote. In all of these cases a professional editor can be very handy. Yes, once the book is accepted for publication it will be edited again; that’s great. If you are an unknown author you will want to put the best version of your work in front of the publisher so hiring an editor is at least something you should consider.

Write a book

Don’t laugh at this tip. You would be surprised at how many writers get so bogged down in the logistics of how to get their book published that they never actually get it written. They worry about publishing houses, editors and markets. None of those things matter until the book actually exists. You should consider everything else completely unnecessary. Personally, I find that the motto “One crisis at a time” works well here. Once the book is written then you can use the other tips presented here to get it published. Now pull out your keyboard, close out Facebook and write your book!

Don’t give up!

I started this by telling you about a book that was rejected over and over before it was accepted for publication. That author could have taken the first rejection….or the first 12 rejections…..and tossed the book into the closet never to be seen again. How much we would have missed if J.K. Rowling had given up on Harry Potter. Never give up. The next letter could be from the publisher who has decided to take a chance on your book.


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