Aspiring authors often dream of seeing their work in print, but getting a manuscript published involves more than just hitting the “submit my manuscript” button. From perfecting your writing to navigating the right time for submission and understanding the financial aspects of publishing, there are critical steps to follow. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of submitting your manuscript to a publisher successfully, covering everything from when to submit to the costs involved. Let’s dive in!
Choosing the Right Time to Submit Your Manuscript
Submitting your manuscript to a publisher at the right time can significantly impact its chances of success. Here are the essential steps to ensure your submission has the best shot:
Perfect Your Manuscript
Before sending your manuscript to a publisher, it must be polished to perfection. Invest time in multiple rounds of editing, seek feedback from beta readers, and refine your manuscript until it shines. Remember, the first impression counts, and a well-edited manuscript will catch the eye of publishers and increase your chances of success.
Consider the Timing
Understanding the market trends and reader preferences is crucial when it comes to submitting your manuscript to a publisher. If your book tackles a current, trending topic, try to submit your manuscript to publishers while the interest is high. However, if your story has timeless themes, take your time and ensure it’s the best it can be. Research the market and evaluate the demand for your genre or topic before deciding on the optimal time to submit your manuscript to a publisher.
Be Mindful of Seasons and Holidays
Timing isn’t just about trends but also about publishers’ availability. Avoid submitting your manuscript to a publisher during peak holiday seasons or major industry events when publishers may be swamped with work. Opt for quieter periods when they have the bandwidth to review submissions carefully.
Understanding the Costs of Publishing
Now that your manuscript is ready for submission, it’s essential to comprehend the costs involved in submitting your manuscript to a publisher. Let’s explore the financial aspects of traditional, hybrid, and self-publishing:
Traditional Publishing Costs
Traditional publishing typically doesn’t require upfront costs from authors when submitting your manuscript to a publisher. The publisher invests in editing, cover design, printing, and distribution. However, in return, they may retain a substantial portion of the book’s royalties. Keep in mind that landing a traditional publishing deal can be highly competitive, and success isn’t guaranteed.
Hybrid Publishing Costs
Hybrid publishing combines elements of both traditional and self-publishing. Authors typically contribute financially to the publishing process, while the publisher offers additional support. The costs for hybrid publishing can vary widely, depending on the package and services you choose. Editorial services, design services (cover design and interior formatting), distribution, marketing, and upfront publishing fees are common components of hybrid publishing costs.
Self-publishing involves upfront expenses when submitting your manuscript to a publisher. Authors must cover costs like professional editing, cover design, formatting, and ISBN registration. Additionally, budgeting for marketing and promotion is essential to reach your target audience effectively. While it may require an initial investment, self-publishing allows authors to keep a more significant share of their book’s royalties.
How to Submit Your Manuscript to a Publisher
Now that you’ve perfected your manuscript, determined the right timing, and understood the costs involved, it’s time to take the crucial step of submitting your manuscript to a publisher. Follow these guidelines on how to submit your manuscript to a publisher to increase your chances of success:
Research Suitable Publishers
Start by researching publishers who align with your genre and writing style. Look for those who have previously published books similar to yours. Check their submission guidelines on their websites or in reputable writing resources, as each publisher may have specific requirements.
Prepare a Professional Query Letter
Most publishers prefer authors to submit a query letter (essentially, an author cover letter) before sending the complete manuscript. Your query letter should be concise, professional, and engaging. It should include a brief summary of your book, your writing credentials (if any), and a personalized reason why you chose that particular publisher. A well-crafted query can capture a publisher’s interest and encourage them to request your manuscript.
Follow Submission Guidelines
Pay close attention to each publisher’s submission guidelines when submitting your manuscript to a publisher. Some may want electronic submissions, while others prefer hard copies. Specific formatting requirements and document types might be specified. Failing to adhere to their guidelines may lead to automatic rejection, so ensure your submission is as per their instructions.
Submit a Complete Manuscript
If the publisher requests the full manuscript upfront, make sure to provide it in the correct format. Usually, it should be double-spaced with clear fonts, page numbers, and your contact information on the first page. Ensure your manuscript is error-free and well-edited before submitting your manuscript to a publisher.
Submitting your manuscript to a publisher takes time, and the publishing industry moves at its own pace. It may take several weeks or months to hear back from a publisher after submitting your manuscript. While waiting, refrain from sending simultaneous submissions to multiple publishers unless explicitly allowed. If you haven’t received a response after a reasonable time, a polite follow-up inquiry is acceptable.
Handle Rejections Gracefully
Rejections are a natural part of the publishing process. If your manuscript is rejected, try not to take it personally. Many successful authors faced numerous rejections before finding the right publisher. Use feedback constructively, revise if necessary, and continue submitting your manuscript to other suitable publishers.
Consider Literary Agents
If you’re finding it challenging to secure a publisher directly, consider seeking representation from a literary agent. Agents have industry contacts and can help pitch your manuscript to publishers on your behalf. Remember that literary agents work on commission, usually a percentage of your book’s earnings.
In conclusion, submitting your manuscript to a publisher requires dedication, research, and a thick skin to handle potential rejections. Carefully research suitable publishers, craft a professional query letter, and submit your work according to their guidelines. Be patient throughout the process, and don’t be disheartened by rejections. With perseverance and determination, you’re one step closer to finding the perfect publisher for your book. Keep honing your craft, and remember that every submission is an opportunity to learn and grow as an author. Good luck on your journey to publication!
A writer is someone who writes. An author is someone who publishes. Are you ready to be an author?
Atmosphere Press has been guiding authors on rewarding journeys through publication and beyond since 2015. Our authors’ award-winning and acclaimed books have sold tens of thousands of copies across six continents, and our Press ethos is to put the power not in the hands of the publisher, but in the hands of the writer, where it belongs. Accredited with an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, we partner with the Independent Book Publishers Association, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, Writer’s Digest, Poets & Writers, Winning Writers, and Writing Magazine, among others.
If you would like to explore taking this author journey with us, please reach out to us directly through our submissions page. We’ll look forward to helping you achieve your goals as a writer…and as an author!