Choosing the Right Representative for Your Story
by Kashika K
The humongous task of writing your dream novel aside, then comes the mission of finding someone that will give you the best platform to reach the world. While self-publishing is one way to go, the traditional method of going through it with a publication house is what most prefer. The professionalism, attention-to-detail, and obviously, increased curiosity and interest by the audience that you might receive on being published with a reputed and recognised name.
Publishers are an important gateway into widespread reading for your story. Finding one that best suits your needs can be difficult and if you don’t know how to, time consuming. Here are some things that can help you decide on the one that works the best for you.
Masters In Your Genre
You must have read a great amount of novels/work in your genre of writing for research or because it is your area of interest. Find your most favourite novel, the one that falls into a somewhat similar category to your work, and turn the initial pages to read up about the publisher of the story.
This is a big help in not only finding some potential publishers, but also provides a clear idea as to what publishers are looking for. Getting an insight into what kind of stories a certain publishing house releases, noticing trends or striking features can help you narrow down some solid options.
What Does Your Potential Publisher Want?
Once some potential choices are with you, look them up on the internet. There is a plethora of information that will help you analyse, critique and understand which publisher wants what.
‘Submissions’ are a part of almost every publishing house’s website page. These not only give you a detailed explanation as to how to submit your work, but also what all they expect from you as a part of your submission.
Usually, these submissions entail a part of your manuscript, a query letter, your personal details, etc.
Remember to format your manuscript to the specifics that the publisher wants to avoid being rejected even before they get to the reading!
Check Out Literary Festivals/ Book Fairs / Writer’s Conferences
Another great way to find potential publishers is to attend literary festivals, book fairs, and writer’s conferences. Publishers/Editors/Writers (aspiring and established) or individuals that are working in the publishing industry are always in attendance and it is an excellent way to network and find more options for yourself.
You can interact with publishers you know, or even find new ones to reach out to. They may be able to help you with whatever specific issues you have with plausible and realistic advice on the scene. Similarly, talking to writers that may be going through a similar experience as you, or went through it when they were in your position can be tremendously helpful. Do not be hesitant to ask around, interact with multiple people to get as much insight as possible. Be confident!
Check Out Literary Agents
Literary agents are experts in the field of publishing. They understand what editors/publishers are looking for better than the writer, and can accurately help you in reaching the correct people to get your work done.
They handle the negotiating and other important work for you, getting you a fair price from the publisher. Agents help you get your work done way more efficiently and can be very useful if you are approaching the publishing business for the first time.
An essential tip to always keep in mind is that agents receive payment through commissions only after they sell your work. Therefore, be wary of agents that may ask you to pay a fee for their services as you start working together itself.
Try to find out the kind of people a publisher has working in their PR, Editors, Marketer, Sales Manager, etc.
Factors like marketing, advertising and PR play an integral role in any book’s success. If quality professionals work in these departments, there is an even better chance of your novel being a success. Although it would usually be impossible to know such details otherwise, the internet is a marvelous place.
Publishing agencies sometimes include this information in their website, and give you a sneak-peek into their work force. Another resource for finding the same could be LinkedIn, where you might be able to look up professionals that form the core of the group of people that would be determining your story’s future.
Looking at their work and its quality might help you better grasp whether you wish to go for a particular publication house. If their work interests you, and if you think they would be able to bring out the vision you have for your book/story, reach out to the publishing house and try for yourself.
Write A Good Query Letter
When submitting to either a publishing house or pitching to a literary agent, along with a glimpse into your actual manuscript and your personal details, you also submit something called a ‘Query Letter.’
Query Letters include the plot of your narrative, it’s main concepts and essentially, why the person reading the letter should sell it. It is with this that you can make yourself and your story really stand out.
Make sure to leave a good impact with the words you choose and how you condense your story into a version that is captivating enough to keep the people reading it interested in your work. This is your chance to impress a publishing house that you think would be perfect for you.
There are formats available for query letters, check them out and do your best!
Getting a book of yours published is probably not something that will happen as quickly as you want it to be. That aside, it is extremely difficult to even get a positive response in a short amount of time after you have submitted your story. In a creative field, there are slim chances that something you make takes off immediately, at least for people who do not have some association or connection in their preferred field already.
Even putting your story out there is an intimidating and overwhelming thing in itself, but what often turns out to be harder to bear is the period of waiting and the inevitable rejection. There are hundreds and thousands of aspiring writers that are working towards the same dream, and who face the same turbulent waves of self-doubt as you.
The only way to deal with this is to always be confident in your work. What you have created and are putting out should be so incredible that no other person can convince you otherwise. Have faith in yourself and what your hard work and labour has created, and wait for the right opportunity to come knocking at your door.
Be Open to Feedback
It is obviously your story, a product of your imagination, and no one would ever want to send out a story that they are not 100% confident about. However, do not let this confidence overpower your ability to listen to others and take constructive criticism.
While working with publishing companies the biggest factor is handing over the responsibility of things like the book’s cover, font, even title sometimes, to the publisher. They are ultimately the authority and also the expert on the subject, and are working to make your story a success.
Do not be stubborn or relentlessly persistent in getting your way every time. When discussing something you disagree upon, always be considerate and rational with what you put forth. Be kind!
Extensive research and self-initiated effort are your sole companions in finding out which of the numerous publishers out there are for you. There is no one designated path for this process, and the most important thing to do is to always keep going.
Finding a publisher that suits your vision for your work can be a process of trial and error. Do not worry about getting it right the first time around, and focus on putting out the best possible version of your story to the world. Be experimental and work hard!