How to publish a book in a publishing house
As the saying goes, there are 3 things in life that everyone should do before we die: write a book, plant a tree and have a child. How about starting with the book today? Writing a book and getting it published is an exciting thing for many people. If this is also one of your dreams, you are in the right place because today we are going to tell you how to publish a book in a publishing house.
Why publish a book in a publishing house?
The topics that generate most doubts among writers are how to publish a book in a publishing house and how much it takes. There are also questions about self-publishing. So you may be wondering, should I look for a publisher to publish my book or self-publish? This is a very personal decision. There are successful writers who have always worked with a trusted publisher and successful writers who have self-published their work.
In this article we tell you the benefits of looking for a publisher, as well as the steps to follow to publish your book.
Benefit 1. Dedicate yourself to writing
One of the advantages of working with a publishing house is that it will accompany you throughout the process. You will have an agent to whom you will be able to ask all the questions you need, ask for an opinion or make suggestions. The goal is to bring the best possible book to the market, so they will be happy to help you and will be a great support for you. And not only that, once you deliver the manuscript, the team will take care of the proofreading and layout of the book. So you, as the writer, will only have to focus on writing and meeting deadlines.
Benefit 2. Dissemination and promotion
Working with a publishing house will allow you to spread and promote your book at another level. To give you an idea, publishers normally print between 500 and 1,000 books for each edition approximately, although there are exceptional cases in which the first print run is much larger. Printing a copy without having sold it yet is something very expensive that an independent writer could not possibly afford.
The publishing house also has a marketing and advertising department to promote each genre and specific title. In addition to all this, there is the media strategy, which includes general and specialized press, both online and offline.
Benefit 3. Distribution in bookstores and other retail outlets
Publishers usually work with high volume sales estimates, since they have a good distribution network. As part of their strategy, they have agreements with bookstores and department stores to offer their entire catalog of works. Think that if your book is in more stores, more people will see it and, therefore, you will sell more copies.
In addition, many readers tend to choose to buy books under the imprint of a publisher with a national or international reputation, as they perceive it as an added value. In the end, that work has passed, so to speak, several filters to achieve a good product. This also gives the author a certain reputation.
Benefit 4. Legal procedures.
Legal procedures are usually the most tedious part for some authors. Although most of them would like to dedicate themselves only to writing, before publishing a book, it is necessary to pay attention to certain legal issues, such as getting the ISBN identifier or leaving some copies in the legal deposit. In the next point we will address these issues, but we anticipate that by working with a publishing house, they will take care of everything, which is very convenient for the writer.
What should you take into account before publishing your book?
In the publishing world, as in other businesses, there are some legal issues that you should take care of before publishing your book.
1. Copyright registration
Intellectual Property (IP) is divided into different categories. One of them is copyright, which protects literary and artistic works, so before publishing your book, the best thing to do is to register it with the Intellectual Property Office. In this way, as an author, you will avoid any form of copying or plagiarism and you will have the right to enjoy the benefits derived from the work. Normally, this task has to be done by each author, not by the publishing house. But don’t worry because it is a really simple process. At Safe Creative we have the largest copyright registration online, with international and permanent validity.
The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) agency assigns to each book an alphanumeric string that identifies the specific edition of a book, as well as other basic data: title, publisher, print run, length, subject, country, translator, original language, whether it is a hard or soft cover, etc. Thus, the same work may have several ISBNs depending on the edition. This procedure is handled by the publisher.
3. Legal deposit
In some countries, current legislations stipulate that it is necessary to deposit, for one or more libraries, copies of publications intended for public communication. Normally 3 or 4 copies are deposited so that they can be used for studies or research. This is also managed by the publisher itself.
How to find a publisher to publish your book?
At this point you will have realized how important it is to have a reputable publisher to support your work, so let’s start the search! Here are some tips on how to find a publisher and publish your book.
List the publishing houses
As you may already know, each publishing house follows a specific line and works in specific genres. Many of them even have specialized imprints. To better understand the market and know which way you are going to move, it would be a good idea to make a table that includes, at least, the following fields:
- Name of publisher.
- Genre it publishes.
- Manuscript acceptance period.
- Contact person.
- Manuscript reception methods.
You may now think that you would work with any publisher willing to publish your book, but it is very important that you share values and are like-minded. In the long run, this will make your life much easier.
Research their catalog
You have already located the publishers you are most interested in and the genres they work in. Now it’s time to dig a little deeper. Find out about the type of catalog of each one of them. Take a look at the titles and themes they focus on, works similar to yours, etc. You can add these comments to the table you made earlier.
Check the conditions
This is perhaps the most important step in the research phase, and also the one that many people overlook. Check the requirements and conditions of each publisher to find out if they are looking for authors. Find out the communication channels they have set up for this purpose and who the contact person is. This information is usually posted on their website.
Write a cover letter
Being proactive always gets attention, so write a short, concise, exquisitely worded letter to tell them the essentials. Don’t forget to add everything you could contribute to the promotion of the book. Publishers like to have authors involved. Throughout the article, we will go into more detail on this subject.
Submitting a publishing proposal
As you will remember, in point 2, research the catalog of each publishing house, you have consulted the conditions of each company. Now it is time to write the proposal that you will send following the indications of each company. The best thing to do is to follow their guidelines. Here are some general recommendations.
Include the following information on the first page:
- Title of the novel.
- Author’s name.
- Contact (telephone and email).
- Number of pages.
In the following pages you will be able to elaborate further. You will have to add:
- Analytical synopsis.
- Brief synopsis.
- Long synopsis.
- List of similar works and authors.
- Target audience.
- List of reasons why they should publish your book.
- Author (your literary resume, if you have one).
- Reviews of the novel.
- Sample chapter.
- Ideas for promoting your book. For example, if you have a blog with monthly readers, a community on social networks, etc.
And don’t forget a simple, eye-catching and beautiful cover. Include the title of the work, the author, and, optional but highly recommended, an image and a sentence that summarizes the essence of the story.
Steps to publish a book in a publishing house
If you are eager to start writing to publish your book, pay close attention to the requirements to publish a book in a publishing house.
Step 1. Choose the topic and the plot
What makes a good story? We could say many things: the structure, the narration, the construction of the characters… In short, that it is well told. And for that you need to write in your own style and tell it from a different point of view. Only you can transmit your approach and that will differentiate you from other authors.
To do a little sifting of topics it is always good to look at the lists of best-selling books. The truth is that some genres sell more than others, so take notes and decide which one will be yours. If you come up with a good theme and plot, master all the elements of storytelling and tell it in your own style, you will increase your chances of success.
Step 2. Write
Here’s a writer’s best-kept secret: write, write, and write. You knew that, didn’t you? Of course, you can practice techniques, develop your imagination and work from a creative approach, but in the end it’s all about writing every day. That’s how you become a great author.
In this other article we tell you everything you need to know to be a writer and make a living out of it. Check it out later!
Step 3. Revise and proofread
It is virtually impossible to make your manuscript flawless right out of the box. You will have to revise it as many times as necessary to deliver it to the publisher as polished as possible. Correct any spelling and grammatical errors, and take care of the tone and style at all times. Take it easy because it is an expensive job.
If you feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task, you can always hire a professional. Remember that this is a very important step, but you can’t get bogged down in it either. If you feel it is better to have a proofreader do it, it is advisable to look for one.
Step 4. Ask for opinions
This is the time to seek readers. You can show your work to a friend, a relative or whoever you consider, but whoever it is, there are three requirements that must be met. One, that person must know the genre you write very well. Two, that they can be totally honest with you without the criticism affecting you too much. Three, they must have a certain criteria.
Another thing to keep in mind is that before showing your work you should register it, even if you don’t have the final manuscript yet. You can register sketches, drafts, character cards… whatever you are going to show. The registration generates a dated proof of authorship that will safeguard your rights as an author.
You can register your literary work in Safe Creative 100% online.
Step 5. Communicate with agents
Agents are the intermediaries between the writer and the publishing houses. They are in charge of reading the material they receive, assessing its quality, deciding if it has possibilities and, if it passes these filters, sending it to their superiors.
What’s the good thing? You won’t waste your time. Agents have an absolutely trained eye and know very well what the publisher is looking for. If an agent recommends you, the company’s professionals will welcome you with open arms. If your work doesn’t convince the agent, it doesn’t really fit what they are looking for right now.
Step 6. Know the market and find your publisher
Thanks to your previous research, this step is already done. You know the market, the different publishers and the requirements of each one. You simply need to review your list and make sure you are going to submit your manuscript to the right ones.
Step 7. Submit your manuscript
The most exciting and decisive moment has arrived, so don’t rush! Before you jump into submitting your manuscript anyway, read this point carefully.
Publishers have their own processes and rules, and if you want to get into the business you have to respect them. Remember that you will have previously elaborated a table in which you classified all the publishers. From all of them, you should focus on the ones that interest you because of their genre and conditions. And of these, you will contact those that have an open deadline for receiving manuscripts. One by one, you will look on their website for the conditions and requirements and take note of it in order to apply.
For example, some publishers will ask for a cover letter, others will ask for a chapter of your book, others just a few pages… Usually the guidelines are clear and concrete, even detailing the subject of the email you should write. The best thing to do is to stick to their guidelines and send exactly what they ask for. Think that they receive thousands of applications and if you skip their steps it is possible that they will not even read you.
So that this does not happen, we give you an extra tip: write a good introductory email. This email is very important. It can make them want to know more about you or leave it on read. So take note:
- You must be clear and direct.
- Make a brief presentation. Here you can highlight the most important milestones of your literary resume. You don’t need to give details about your passions or other hobbies.
- Tell them why you have chosen their publisher. Since you’ve done your research, this point will be a piece of cake.
- Tell them what you can bring to them as an author.
- If you have any references or contacts within the publishing house, this is a good time to tell them.
- Finally, don’t forget to add your contact information (telephone and email, which will be the one you will be writing from).
- Write an email that answers all these points in a natural way, without sounding like you are answering a questionnaire point by point.
- You can also highlight a word in bold or use a formal emoticon to attract attention, but do not overdo it. Try not to highlight whole sentences or use emojis that are too bold. You want to be approachable but you are still in a formal environment.
How to promote the book once it is published
In this article we have already mentioned that the publisher will be in charge of the diffusion and promotion of your book, since it is one of their works in their catalog and they are interested in selling as many as possible. However, you should know that you will also have to collaborate, for example, by attending presentations, events, book signings, or doing interviews in the media.
The more space you occupy in the media, the more people will know about your book, and the more likely you are to sell. That’s one of the reasons why publishers like to have proactive and participative authors, who enjoy this more public aspect. You don’t need to be an extroverted person, or a people person, just let yourself flow and, above all, do a promotion that you feel comfortable with and that allows you to be yourself.
We hope you find these steps to publish a book very useful!