So you’ve finally done it: you’ve finished your story. All of those abstract ideas floating through your head have now finally been committed to paper (or word processor). You’ve done your first drafts and multiple re-writes, sometimes driving yourself crazy in the process. It may have taken weeks, months, or even years, but you’ve finally realized your vision. And yes, you can send it to your friends and family and be satisfied with that, but if you want to go from being a writer to an established author, there is only one thing to consider: getting published.
But how to find the right publisher? Of course, it’s always tempting to send your manuscript to one of the big publishing houses, but for those you will usually need a literary agent. Luckily, there are many other publishers which do not require this, and because of the internet it’s easy to find them. In fact, the number of publishers you can find online might even seem a bit overwhelming. And how do you know if they are even legitimate? One thing I’ve found helpful in sorting out the real publishers from fake ones is to search that publisher’s name in google along with the word ‘scam.’ From this, you can tell pretty quickly who is genuine and who isn’t.
Another important step in getting published is to look at the publishers’ preferred genres. If you have a romance story, then there’s no point in sending it to someone who specializes in science fiction. Usually a publisher will be very clear about what type of genres they are looking for in their submission guidelines: take it seriously, otherwise you could just be wasting your time and theirs.
Another thing to take very seriously when reading a publisher’s submission guidelines is their formatting instructions. This is VERY important. Think of it as sending in a resume for a job opening. If your resume is hard to read, untidy, etc. it doesn’t matter how good your experience is, it will most likely be immediately passed over. In the same way, even if your story is wonderful, it will go to waste if you don’t format it properly and the publisher can’t even read it correctly, and in any event it won’t reflect well on you because it will seem like you don’t care enough to make it right. If a publisher feels like you don’t care about them, why should they care about you?
Getting published can easily be the thrill of a lifetime, but it’s far from guaranteed. Take your time in researching possible publishers, pay attention to what they are looking for, and always take care to submit your manuscript in the correct format. Do these things correctly, and one day you might see your book for sale in the Kellan Publishing Bookstore!
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