If you’re a writer out there who is looking to publish your book then you should apply to a publisher. That’s a given and if you aren’t doing that then start – now!
The problem is applying to one publisher is not enough. You need to identify as many publishers as you can. Unfortunately, if you aren’t represented then this is a numbers game. Even if you email 50 publishers you need to follow up multiple times. This article goes through how to find the right publisher and how to apply. It also has some bonus points about how to apply to a publisher below. If you are interested in open applications then head over to our submission page.
Find the Right Publisher
Not every publisher is going to be a good fit with your manuscript. Every publishing company has a specific niche that they cater to. Even large publishing companies have imprints that cater to specific audiences. The best place to look for publishers is the Writers and Artists almanac which is published every year:
They work tirelessly all year to come up with a list of the best publishing companies in the industry. All the names you need are right there. You’re welcome!
That’s the easy part, finding the list. The hard part is finding the ones that are a good fit for you. That’s the real trick. Find the right publishing companies that you’ll enjoy working with.
If you look at our front covers and the authors we work with you can see that we have a niche. They’re positive books with bold covers and innovative writers. If you’ve written a Victorian non-fiction crime drama then we may not be the best fit for you.
Have a look at the gallery of images below and get a sense of what we do. You need to do that for each and every publisher you apply to.
- Does the publisher have similar work to you? If they do then that’s a good thing. You know that they work within your genre.
- Is the publisher looking for new submissions?
- Could you see yourself working with them in the future?
Look at Submission Guidelines When You Apply to a Publisher
It sounds obvious but when you apply for a publisher you have to tailor your approach. It takes time but you can’t just blast out an email to 100 publishers. You have to go to each one, read their submission guidelines and follow them precisely.
- What format do they want to you send your manuscript in? (PDF, Word Doc, HTML, or Rich text?)
- How do they want to receive your work? (Email, website, carrier pigeon?)
- What standard do they expect the work to be in?
It is absolutely critical that you follow the submission guidelines meticulously. The reason is that it’s the first thing that the secretaries look for when they receive a submission. The publisher’s thinking is that “if they can’t follow basic instructions then they’re going to be a nightmare to work with.”
You have to remember that publishers get thousands of submissions. They haven’t got time to look at them all. The first way to weed out the bad authors is to get rid of the ones that can’t follow instructions!
Be Accountable When You Apply to a Publisher
This is the hardest part, following up and making sure that they’ve received your work. Publishers will not be happy with this point because – generally – they don’t want people following up. However, it is essential that you do. Your work needs to be of a very high standard but that does not guarantee that an editor will look at it.
Publishing is a people’s business and it’s important to have a good relationship with your publisher. Don’t just allow people to ignore you after you’ve submitted your work. Try to call them, or email them and ask for them to read your work.
What have you got to lose? Go out there and get applying!