top of page

This is how you can publish with a traditional publishing house

The publishing houses that created a foundation for book publishing in the world are called traditional publishing houses. They have their presence in many countries because of the fame that they’ve gained in all these years. All traditional publishing houses have a submission process that you can easily find on their website. Certain rules and policies are to be kept in mind before submitting your manuscript to a traditional publishing house because they cannot afford publishing everything that comes in the way. Having a reputation to uphold they require all the entries to be in a prescribed format otherwise the manuscripts are likely to get rejected at the preliminary stage itself.

There are agents who help new writers in pitching their manuscript to traditional publishing houses. They can prove to be of great help because of their knowledge and experience – they know exactly what will lead to the selection of a manuscript. The information about these literary agents can be easily found online on Google or through networking apps.

Five of the most famous traditional publishing houses are Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster. Most of them have Indian arms but there are many traditional publishing houses that are originally Indian. Some of them are Rupa Publications, Om Books International, Srishti Publishers, and Juggernaut Books.

The first step to get your book published with a traditional publishing house is to finish your book completely. No loose ends must be left before you begin with the process. It is necessary for you to review your book by yourself once and if you feel you won’t be able to do justice to it then you can ask someone you trust to review it for you. Reviewing is not only necessary to polish your manuscript but it also helps you understand your own work thoroughly. One of the very common mistakes that the writers make is that they forget about the foundational ideas that they had before they began writing their book. And this can easily be judged by the publishing houses when the writer is not able to provide relevant answers when asked about his/her own book.

It is often believed that if you distance yourself from your draft for some time you start looking at it from the perspective of a reader. It helps you shape the book according to the needs and expectations of your readers.

Once you are done reviewing it you can start searching for a literary agent or professional editor. You can also hand it over to trustworthy readers who would be able to tell you if it’s going to be a success in the market or not. However, the professional editor will be able to provide you with constructive feedback that will help you make the necessary changes before presenting it to the agents.

Most of the big traditional publishing houses do not accept entries without an agent as the intermediary. As mentioned above you can find information about these literary agents online and in case you are not able to find a suitable agent for your book you can go through the acknowledgement section of the famous book of that genre.

After finishing these two steps you need to begin writing your query letter. In the query letter you will pitch your book to the literary agent. You need to describe your book to the agent along with all the information that is important for him/her to know in order to understand your work better. You also need to include a sample of your manuscript for the agent to have a better idea of what he/she is going to be pitching to the publishing houses.

Send out your query letter to your selected literary agents. It is okay to not hear from all the agents whom you send the letter to because of the number of queries they might get on a daily basis. But if your work is commendable you will hear from at least one of the agents that you shortlist. One more thing that you need to keep in mind is that this step might take longer than you expect. This is because the agents also need time to figure out whether or not your book falls under the category that they specialize in.

As a backup you can prepare a database of all suitable literary agents so that you can keep reaching out to more and more till you finally hear from someone. Even though it is better to assume a negative response in such matters, knowing that there are many literary agents in the market you can surely take a leap of faith in the process.

Once you hear from the agent they will require your full draft to go through it and finalize if they wish to sign the deal or not. It is possible that after reading your manuscript entirely, the agent might not be interested in pitching it to the publishers. In this case you can keep reaching out to more agents to avoid the wastage of time.

The agent with whom you decide to sign the deal will give his/her inputs to improve the manuscript. It is advised to make changes based on what your agent suggests because his/her expertise on the subject might increase the chances of selection of your manuscript by the big traditional publishing houses.

Your manuscript will go through many revisions before the publishers lay their eyes on it because the agent will make sure that it has everything that the publishers look for while selecting a manuscript.

Your agent writes a letter similar to your query letter to the editors of the traditional publishing houses to pitch your book to them. Even though it has a concept similar to the letter that you write to them, it is a very advanced pitch. Apart from the hard work put in the manuscript it depends entirely on the pitch of the agent if the publishing house will accept or reject the offer which is why it is of utmost importance.

If the editors like your work they will sign a deal with your agent and thereafter the publishing process will begin keeping you in the loop.

bottom of page