Publishers receive thousands of queries and book proposals each year, so here are some tips to help you increase your chances of having your book query or proposal considered:
|Take a deep breath and research your market before you take the leap to publish.|
1. First, look in bookstores and public libraries for publishers of books on the topics you wish to write about and make a listing of those that best “fit” your subject matter or genre. Search, too, in annual market guides like the Writer's Market or the Children’s Writers & Illustrators Market annual — also available at bookstores or the reference section of your public library.
2. Make a list of these publishers and then research the kinds of books they publish — go online to see if they post their current book list; or write for a current book catalog (they may ask for money for postage). Many publishers also post their authors’ submissions guidelines on their sites.
3. Look and read some of the books they publish to analyze the format, length, graphics and illustrations used, and other pertinent details.
4.“Test-market” your subject. Talk to people who know the genre for which you are writing. For example, if you wish to write children’s books, speak with the children’s librarian of your local public library and teachers for some ideas what children are currently reading or asking for. Ask children their opinions and spend as much time as possible with the age of children for whom you are writing so you will understand what interests them, makes them laugh, their fears and their other concerns. Attend writing conferences and speak to publisher representatives and/or editors.
5. Then if you think your book would "fit" a publisher’s line of books, go online or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a copy of their author's submissions guidelines.
6. Next, find the name of a current acquisitions editor to whom you can address your query. Usually you can just telephone the publisher’s main switchboard number and ask the name of the current editor that handles that specific genre or category of books. Check also in your public library’s reference section for a current copy of the Literary Marketplace for publishers’ staff names.
7. Query that editor (let her know if your are contacting any other publishers) with a one-page letter and ask if she is interested in seeing a proposal. Make sure you include a short bio of your experience and your publishing credits (books, e-books, published articles or other samples of your writing that are applicable). And, perhaps the most important of all, include details about how your book will be different from others like it.
8. If they want a proposal, the editors usually like an outline, a few sample chapters, and ideas (very important!) about how you would market your book.
That's about it. It’s a very tough publishing world. Just do not give up!! You will eventually find a publisher for your work if you keep trying and perfecting your writing style.
Priscilla Y. Huff is a freelance business writer/author of articles, books, and information on small and home-based businesses, specializing in women’s entrepreneurship topics. For 17 years, she has operated her home-based business, Little House Writing & Publishing, offering all manner of services for small businesses. She is the author of the best-selling book, 101 Best Home-Based Businesses for Women, 3rd ed., (a Literary Guild book club selection) and seven other business and professional books.Huff welcomes business-related questions and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org and BestBiz4Me@earthlink.net