Things to know before you publish a book
You do not necessarily need an agent to sell your books to a publisher. There are still books that are still found and bought out of what publishers call the “slush pile” which is like a manuscripts. The large and well known publishers deal mostly with exclusively with agents, and many simply will not look at a proposal that is not submitted by an agent. Most average publishers have an overwhelming number of submissions. One of the editor's main job is to keep in close contact with a group of agents, letting them know what kind of books that editor is looking for, and getting them used to that editor's taste.
A good agent will help you put the final proposal and will get it directly to the editors and publishers most likely to buy your kind of book, and most likely to publish your book successfully. Most publisher houses deal with a lot of agents and proposals. An agent needs to move a lot of product and they are normally unable to lavish the kind of attention that authors might sometimes expect on a project. Some of the best agents would know how to stick with a project they believe in until the proper home is found, remember not to give up before reaching the ideal publisher.
Even if you choose not to hire an agent, it is good to get an agent eventually so that the agent can close the deal. For example, publishers are business people, if they know you are someone who does not know their business, then they might not probably offer you their absolute best deal unless you ask them the right questions and show them that you know what you are talking about.
Most first time authors often chafe at paying a percentage of their earnings to an agent, but if you think about it, if a trained professional who does this all the time can improve your deal by just 10%, then they have earned their keep and you keep the rest.
Lately, more and more lawyers are specializing in representing authors, you can chose to pick a lawyer that you pay hourly, or by a certain percentage that you earned from selling your book.
The way you can find the right agent or editor is through either the Literary Marketplace in the Yellow Pages, or you can search for books in your local library. Before searching for your right agent or editor you should compare your book to other published works the agent or editor has worked on. If you feel that they would like your work then that is when you will submit your book to this certain agent or editor. The closer a comparison you can make, either in subject, or sensibility, or the style of presentation, the better the odds that you will hook up with the right people.
You should also look into the editors or agents book in the copyright page to see if the editor is credited, if you can not find their name in the copyright page, look on the Acknowledgment page where authors will often thank their editor or agent. If neither of these two work feel free to call the publishing house, the editorial department should be able to tell you the editor's name and the sub-rights or publicity departments will usually know who agented the book.
You can not copyright a book idea or a title. Copyright protection applies to an entire work. The best way to protect your idea is to execute it as well as possible. When a publisher evaluates an authors proposal they will look at the idea to see if they like it and if they can live up to the promised idea. They also look at the author and the authors sample materials, you can not do this without the other. Publishers like reading new authors ideas and they usually encourage them to submit their ideas freely because publishers look for writers to create books for them. Most people who go into the publishing career is because these people love ideas and writing and working with writers and take pride in the originality of their work.
To find the right publisher you should do research. You would want to search for that one publisher that will put your book in print and make your book a success at the same time. A bookstore is a good place for research and look at the selection of books the bookstores offer and decide which category your book would be sold in. try to see if any one or two publishers “dominate” the category. You should also look closely to which publisher's books are facing out on the shelf, or there in a large quantities like 10 or more copies on the shelf. You can also look at individual books to see how successful they have been, check the copyright page, and look for a small sequence of numbers at the bottom of the page, these numbers tell you what printing the copy of the book comes from. The more printings means the more successful the book is. Talk to your local bookseller, they are always supportive of writers, and are often happy to share their thoughts on which publishers are doing the best job in your field. You can also ask these questions to your local library.
Keep in mind these successful publishers that are not based in New York and are not household names: Rodale, Andrews and McMeel, Rutledge Hill, and Running Press.
Next step is to know how to put together a good proposal for your publisher. You should be very clear, articulate, and to the point when you are writing your proposal. You should go all out to capture the buyer's interest as quickly as possible, and hold it for as long as you can. How your proposal looks, and how professionally it is presented is critical to shaping the attitude with which your proposal will be viewed. Your proposal should include: a one page cover letter, an introduction that sells your idea in two pages or less, (tell them what the book is about and what makes it unique, what the market is for your book, and how it will be reached.
To convince your reader you should be very concrete about your work.), a table of contents that will give an overall picture of your book, sample material that is enough to convince and give a sense of what the customer is buying, information about the author like what makes you the right person to do this book, marketing information and plans like how can you help sell this book, what special places and ways can it be sold, and what special ways can it be promoted.
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Things to Know Before you Publish a Book
Process of Publishing a Novel
Companies that will Publish Books for You