Securing A Publisher: How To Get Your Book Published


Securing a Publisher: How To Get Your Book Published

If you were to run a search through our inbox this would be the most popular question we receive. Most authors want to secure a publishing deal.

What follows is the advice we give to new authors looking to pursue a traditional publishing deal. Additionally we have two examples which show how new authors followed this process and were able to secure traditional publishing deals.

Publishing Business

A point which we feel adds to the context of our strategy. The publishing industry is a business just like any other. A good means for comparison is an early stage company. Imagine you are thinking of investing in this great new business. They tell you their product is fantastic and will sell throughout the world. The issue is they haven’t sold any yet. They have come to you looking for money to finish the product and promote it. That is very risky proposition for you as the product is unproven.

Publishers are purely focused on potential returns.

The same applies to publishing houses when they are approached by literary agents with a manuscript from a new author. They have no benchmark to estimate what the potential returns might be.

The alternative is a company who have great feedback on their first product, some press, excellent reviews and some modest sales numbers. For the more risk adverse this is the option to pursue.

Now an alternative solution can be presented to the publishers via the literary agents. Here is a new author with an established online community. It could be a blog, large social media following or an email list. The author has subscribers that are relevant to the potential book. That means a list of possible customers.

Even better still is a situation when an author has already self published a book. They have great reviews and moderate sales. The book doesn’t have to be a bestseller that had runaway success. The publisher can see that the book has been popular and well received. This shows initial traction. It will give your literary agent an even greater chance of success.

Want to know which publishing houses are currently accepting applications in your genre?

Apply directly to traditional publishing houses currently accepting applications.

We have put together a list for you which is maintained and updated monthly. The list tells you:

  • What they are looking for
  • Submission details
  • When submission closes
  • Previous authors they have published
  • And Much MUCH more.

Find out more here.

Give Yourself An Edge

Publishing is a competitive industry. It is paramount you give yourself an edge when approaching literary agent’s and publishing houses.  They are approached by a plethora of writers on a daily basis. A client and good friend of ours runs a literary agency. The number of submissions are staggering. The same is true for publishing houses who accept direct applications.

So how can you stand out?

By demonstrating a buzz. Show the publishing houses that you have more than a great book. You have existing readers, a fan base and initial sales. Most crucially the last point is always what publishing houses look for. If a book has modest sales they can then explore ways to augment this.

An even better scenario is good sales of one of your first books. Example below detailing how this method helped author Richard Marshall to secure a traditional publishing contract.

Richard Marshall – Antisense

Richard came to us as a frustrated author. He had a trickle of sales and a hand full of great reviews. Everyone who had read the book raved about it but they were a very small number. Richard wanted to secure a traditional publishing deal and he believed in his writing. He had invested in creating an excellent product. It had been meticulously edited and was truly a great book.

Richard had approached literary agents and publishing houses directly with no success. He asked us to help him generate some coverage online, more reviews and initial. After a 4 month campaign we achieved his targets.

Richard took the sales data, PR and reviews back to the traditional publishing houses. This helped him to secure a traditional publishing contract for his next book. 

Build An Author Platform

This is really picking up steam amongst publishing houses. What do they mean by a platform? People who will go out and by your book. Specifically they are looking for authors with influential blogs and a large number of subscribers.

A strong platform demonstrates a proven audience for the book if what you are publishing is on the same topic.

Useful Resources

Curated list of publishing houses accepting applications. 

What 200+ marketing campaigns has taught us.

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