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Guidelines for Publishing a Book

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Guidelines for Publishing a Book

You have spent months of your precious life writing your thoughts and have come up with a book that you are proud of and ready to share with the world. The next obvious step is to get your book published. Honestly, it is a very arduous process, and will cause you great frustration.

This guide will help with the steps to publishing your book. This book references Indian resources. The process will be the same for other countries with the exception of the contacts. Just look in your area for the agents and publishers to submit your book to while following these instructions.

Start at the Beginning:

The two people you need to contact in the process of getting your book published are the agent and the publisher.

The Agent

The agent is the person who knows how to get your book published. The agent knows everyone and everything in the publishing business. They know which publishers would be interested in your book. They know how to send a query letter. They know who is accepting submissions and who is not. Furthermore, the agent does all the contacting for you.

Getting an agent can be a difficult task. A good agent will only take books he or she knows will sell. The publishers trust the agents to send only the best. You may have to go to several agents before you find one that will accept your project.

Agents are overwhelmed with book submissions, so they will only accept what they think are the best.

In exchange for all the work he or she puts into getting your book published, your agent takes a percentage of the money it makes in sales.

It takes a long time for an agent to build a reputation with a publisher so that relationship is very precious to the agent. It is because of this that an agent will only accept certain books. If they recommended a book to a publisher that didn’t sell, the publisher would no longer trust the agent and they would lose that contact.

It is for this reason that the agent is so particular about the books he or she accepts to represent.

The Publisher

The publishing company is comprised of editors who deal with all the different kinds of books that come in to be published. Usually, each editor is responsible for a different genre. An agent refers a book to an editor in the publishing house. The editor then reviews it to decide if they will print the book.

Penguin Books India is one of India’s largest publishers.

Most countries will have you go to the agent first and the agent takes your book to the publisher. In India, however, you are able to present your manuscript directly to the editor. Although this is acceptable, it is still much easier to get published through an agent.

Approaching an agent or editor for the first time:

There are proper procedures for approaching an editor or agent with your manuscript for the first time.

The correct format for your manuscript includes: 1 ¼” margins on all sides, double spacing, and numbered pages. Print on only one side of the page. Add a title page containing the book’s title, your name and contact information. You need to put the word count and number of chapters and pages, as well.

Most word processing programs will have word count in their tools section. If you have to count your words, count the number of words in three lines and average them out, (add them together and divide by three). Multiply this by the number of lines on the page. Finally, multiply this number by how many pages there are. This is your word count.

If the word count is not included you will probably get rejected. Publishers have strict rules and they expect them to be followed. If you want your book published you will have to abide by the rules of the publisher who will print your book.

Manuscripts are to be delivered loose-leaf, in a manuscript package or box. A bubble envelope is good. A padded envelope is not good. The fibers from the envelope get all over the manuscript and make editors irritated and may get your book rejected, no matter how good it is.

Make copies. The agent or editor may only want to see the first three chapters, or your best three. Have them ready to go as soon as it is requested. Write on the box or envelope, “requested manuscript” so the mail sorters know it is not an unsolicited manuscript which would end up in the reject pile.

Preparing a Query Letter:

A query letter is a short preview of your manuscript to the editor or agent to help them speed up the process of reviewing thousands of books a month.

It is necessary for you to write a perfect query letter to get your book seen and reviewed by an agent or editor. This is the door opener for your book. If the query letter isn’t perfect, it will go into the trash and your book will never get seen. So even if you have the best book ever written, if you don’t write a good query letter, it will not get published.

Search for query writing tips. Read as much as you can. If you can find the exact procedure for the editor or agent you are hoping will publish your book, all the better. It is very important to remember that if you are perceived as amateur you will not get printed. Be professional in all your correspondence with the publisher and agent.

Don’t give up. You will have to develop a thick skin. Most manuscripts get rejected many times before someone will take the chance and publish them. Stick to it and you will have success.

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