So, you want to become a published author. It’s a noble dream, and despite the difficulties, it’s absolutely possible if you’re dedicated and patient enough. But you might not know how to publish a book. You may feel intimidated because you don’t have contacts in the publishing industry, or you’ve never attended university, or you don’t have a blog or an online following.
That doesn’t matter. Countless authors before you, in the exact same situation, have figured out how to publish a book. So can you. Agents are always looking for the next query letter and manuscript that blows them away (one of the best ways to achieve this is by hiring professionals to compose a first-rate query letter for you).
Now, even if you know the ins and outs of how to publish a book, there is still an element of luck involved in the process. Your manuscript may just happen to address a trending theme, or the agent you query may just happen to be looking for an author like you. However, good timing aside, there are still things you can do to increase your chances of publishing a book.
Decide what to write
One of the most important elements in how to publish a book is the topic you write about. Your topic—and your writing quality—is the main determiner of whether you’ll get published or not. First of all, before you even choose a theme, you have to decide what kind of manuscript you’ll write. For example, if you want to write a novella, your likelihood of being published is already lower.
Survey the market
To figure out how to publish a book, you have to know what’s popular, and to determine that, you have to study the market. Consult bestseller lists and read the books that top the lists. Determine the elements that landed them at the top of the lists. Take a look at the books promoted front and center at bookstores. You can also subscribe to The Bookseller for more insider info.
You’ll notice patterns in the genres—for example, crime fiction never goes out of style, and psychological thrillers are gaining popularity. Whatever genre you choose, make sure your manuscript is fresh and unique—writing the same book as everyone else is not how you get a book published. The bestsellers feature strong stories, interesting characters, and unique settings. They have strong hooks—their main idea is intriguing and excites you to read more. Take a look at book blurbs and determine which ones intrigue you the most.
Evaluate your manuscript idea against your market research
What kind of books do you like to read? Does your book fall into their ranks? If you saw your book in a bookstore, would you want to buy it? Try to answer these questions as objectively as possible—it’s all part of figuring out how to publish a book. Generally, the books that do well have strong stories with dire situations, whether emotional or physical. The characters suffer immensely and grow throughout the story. Top-selling books often leave the reader with an important message. Does this description match your manuscript?
Publishing a book is a learning process. If your first manuscript doesn’t fit the market, try writing another one. Many writers have unpublished manuscripts lying around, and there’s no shame in that. You’ll write better each time you write a book, and eventually you’ll learn the art of how to publish a book.
If you’re struggling to come up with a brilliant manuscript idea, seek inspiration from bestselling novels, take writing classes, and get feedback from people who know what they’re talking about. If your idea really hits the spot, you may receive a large advance and have literary agents flocking to you. If you can achieve this, you’ve truly mastered how to publish a book.
Once you’ve come up with your brilliant idea and penned a literary masterpiece, it’s time to start the actual publishing process. The first step is finding a literary agent and pitching your book to them. Before you can even wow them with your manuscript, you have to convince them you’re worth reading by crafting an effective query letter. Your query letter is the first writing sample the literary agent will see from you, and it’s up to those few paragraphs to persuade the agent to request a copy of your manuscript. Take the time to write a truly amazing query letter. And if you want to maximize your chances of success, you can have professionals compose an effective query letter for you.