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5 Essential Steps to Getting a Book Published (And What to Avoid)

You’ve done it! You’ve written a book – now what? The steps to getting a book published can seem overwhelming or confusing; read on to learn how to navigate them with success.

Get Your Story Perfect

The biggest, most important thing you can do before you start talking to publishers is get your story perfect. It’s not enough to just finish the book – though that is an accomplishment you should be proud of. You only get one shot to impress a publisher, so you need to make sure your book is everything you want it to be before you send it.

Once you finish your story, set it down for a few weeks and then go back and read it again. Edit it, rewrite everything, kill your darlings, and make it as good as you can. Send it through some sort of a critique group if you can, and then edit it again – and again and again and again.

Hire a Copy Editor

Once your book is exactly what you want it to be, it’s time to bring in a copy editor. These gurus know everything you don’t want to learn about grammar and punctuation. They know where the commas need to go and where they don’t, and they can fix all your dangling participles.

Hiring a copy editor is a huge part of preparing for the publishing process. Publishers aren’t going to be impressed by a manuscript that’s riddled with grammatical errors. Find a good copy editor and pay them to get your manuscript in good grammatical shape.

Define Your Audience

Defining your audience is perhaps the most challenging part of the pre-publishing process. You have to fall in love with your book while you’re writing and editing it, and this is when you fall back out of love with it again.

You need to sit down and think about who’s going to buy your book, and the answer cannot be “everybody.” In fact, most publishers like to hear that you have a specific group of potential readers in mind; it makes it easier to market to them. Think long and hard about who will be interested in paying $25 to read your book and focus on them as your audience.

Review Your Publishing Options

There are a few different routes you can go with publishing, depending on your book: Big Five publishers, small publishers, and self-publishing. Which one you go with depends on who your audience is.

If your book has widespread world-changing appeal (and be honest with yourself about that), a Big 5 publisher might be for you. If your audience is a more niche market, small publishing houses can help you market more directly to those people and make more money.

If your interest in publishing is more about having the book out there than making money off of it, or if you’re a killer marketer, self-publishing through companies like Instant Publisher can be a good route. 

Read the Submission Guidelines

Finally, the best thing you can do to increase your chance that a publisher takes your book is to read their submission guidelines. Every publisher has different requirements for submissions, and you need to follow them to the letter.

A lot of publishers (especially the larger ones) will ignore your submission entirely if it doesn’t have the pieces they requested. But even if they do look at it, you’re going to make a better impression if you follow the guidelines they provide.

Succeed at the Steps to Getting a Book Published

Writing a book is daunting; getting it published can be even more so. But if you follow these steps to getting a book published, you’ll find the perfect publisher for you.

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