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After the Period: How to Publish Your Novel

So you've completed a fiction book, polished it up, and blessed it ready for publication. Now what?

Now you decide HOW you want it published. Do you want to:

{1} PUBLISH THROUGH A PUBLISHING HOUSE: This means you find a publishing house online or elsewhere and follow their submission guidelines for them to consider you for publication. (NOTE: Some publishing houses do not take submissions straight from the author. If this is the case, the publisher will say, "We do not accepted unsolicited manuscripts," meaning they only accept submissions pitched to them by a literary agent who is representing an author's book) If the publisher decides to publish you, they will hire an editor and cover designer for you, free of charge. You do not have to find an editor before hand. Just make sure your work is good and polished. You sign a contract saying they own the rights to your book for so many years which means you can’t publish that book anywhere else until the contract is up. (NOTE: The contract I have is just specific to The War Queen. It does not bind any other books I have. I can publish my other books elsewhere if I choose.)

{2} PUBLISH THROUGH A LITERARY AGENT: An agent acts as the middle man between you and the publisher (remember that "unsolicited" thing I mentioned above?) You submit your story for consideration to the agent, and if they like your story, they will choose to represent you and the agent will track down an editor, cover designer, and publisher for you, free of charge. Your agent will then take a portion of your royalties you make to pay them back for their work. They work with you on a personal level. Having an agent is likely the best option. It’s also the hardest one to get since agents are picky about what they want to represent. I was rejected by 47 agents before a publisher picked me up.

{3} SELF PUBLISH: This is where you find a vendor online which will help you publish your own book. If you go this route, you will be responsible for paying for your own editor (about $700 or more or less dependent on your word count) and your own book designer. You also have less protection on any copyright infringement. Whereas a publishing house or literary agent will pursue the copywriters for you and take them to court, if you self publish you do that on your own. Self publish you can make your book available as an e-book. You also have the option to have it in print, where the company who prints your self-published book will only print as many copies as you ask for. And you have to pay for those copies yourself. But then you can turn around and sell those copies, thus making a profit.

Now pick one of those options

{1} If you chose to be published through a PUBLISHING HOUSE, you will need to write what is called a query letter. A query letter is a 2-3 paragraph blurb about what your book is about. Go HERE to learn how to write a good query letter. And read the query letter I wrote that nailed me my current publishing contract here.

You will also need something called a synopsis. A synopsis goes hand in hand with a query letter. Where a query letter is essentially the back blurb on a book to give you a general overview with an exciting hook that makes you want to read the rest of the book, a synopsis is longer (1-2) pages and you give away all the plot twists and the ending. Sometimes you will need both a query letter and synopsis, sometimes just one, but you will need both on hand because different publishing houses have different wants. Some houses just want you to submit your entire novel and that is it. Follow their guidelines. Learn how to write a synopsis here.

Now that you have a really good query letter drawn up and a really good synopsis, you are ready to finally find that publishing house to submit to. You can find hundreds of publishing houses and literary agents at querytracker (this is where I found my current publisher, Tirgearr Publishing)

The only rule you have to follow is make sure you find the agent/publishing house that represents your genre. This is important because if you wrote a horror and the agent/publisher only represents fantasy, they will - under no exception - publishing you, so don't waste your time. If you wrote a horror, make sure the agent/publisher specifies they represent horror.

{2} if you chose to be published through a LITERARY AGENT, you will follow the exact same guidelines I gave you for PUBLISHING HOUSE. In the query letter, you will address the actual agent's name (Dear Sara Brownlow,).

{3} if you chose to SELF PUBLISH, you can get your start at these links. There are others out there, however, these two I have brief, personal experience with. They are both reputable:

FINAL NOTE: If you seek traditional publication, be prepared to be rejected MANY times. How many? It took me 47 rejections before I secured my publishing contract. I've spoken to other authors who say they've been rejected over 200 times. But, really, if you've sent your writing to beta readers and it is has been honestly polished, it shouldn't take you more than 100 rejections. Create for yourself a "100 rejection" folder on your desktop and instead of fearing each rejection, collect them. It changes your attitude and makes it easier to deal with.

And please... PLEASE don't self-publish just because you are upset you can't get traditional publication. You will seriously hurt yourself if you self-publish on a whim. I promise. I've seen it.

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