- By Caterina Christakos
- Published 03/24/2008
The crazy world of publishing can be a scary and confusing place for a new book writer, and it can be nice to get a little bit of guidance on how to navigate around things like writer guidelines, publishing houses,literary agents, and such. While most first time book writers think the hard work was done once they typed the end at the bottom of the last page, it turns out that there is still a whole lot left to do. For those who want to see their words in print, this article will help offer some advice on how to get moving in the right direction. First of all, let us assume that the book writer is not interested in trying to self publish, and let us focus instead on how to shop the manuscript around to those whose job it is to do such things. One of these people is the literary agent. A book writer does not have to use the services of a literary agent, but sometimes having one on your side really is an asset. This person will know the appropriate markets to send the manuscript and will have the expertise to negotiate a contract with a publisher on the writers behalf. In return, of course, he or she earns a portion of the negotiated fee. For this reason, it is in the agents best interest to get the book writer the most money for the project. Unfortunately, finding an agent to represent an aspiring author can be almost as daunting as finding a publisher would have been!
When trying to secure a publisher, book writers should consider using all of the writing resources available. This includes publications like Writers Market and the information distributed by the publishing houses themselves. A little early research can save a lot of time in the long run. A novel
writer who sends his manuscript to a childrens book publisher has not done himself, or the publisher, any favors. Nothing annoys publishers and editors more than receiving manuscripts that just do not fit their genre. In addition to finding the right publisher, it is also important to be sure that the work is sent to the right department. Since there is a high rate of turnover in the publishing world, it is always a good idea to double check that the envelope is addressed to the current editor of the department. This can be accomplished with a quick, polite phone call to ensure that the editor is still with the company and that the name was spelled correctly on the website. One other important tool for the book writer is the proposal. While some publishers request only a short query letter from writers, others are going to insist on seeing an entire proposal. Many writers make the mistake of sending their whole manuscript, but the writer guidelines will very often stipulate that they only want to see the complete proposal. We say only, but creating a book proposal is a big endeavor that will likely take much of a writers creative writing skills in order to appropriately sum up not only the book itself, but also the market into which is would be released. It is an interesting mix of writing fiction and creative marketing. There are a lot of writer resources out there to help create a strong book proposal that will have the publisher asking to see the entire manuscript.
It is true that fulfilling your dream of becoming a book writer can really be a labor of love. The unfortunate reality of getting that book published, however, is that it is just plain labor. With some hard work and determination, the above suggestions can help turn an amateur book writer into a published professional writer.