My process in deciding this was to read several books from my local library on the ins and outs of self-publishing versus trying to entice a publisher to look seriously at my children’s book. Certainly, it is less costly to have a publisher print your book and you might get paid a little bit for it. Be aware of the pros and cons to this option, however. Once your manuscript is completed, if you have written a fictional tale, identify the genre of your book. You may need to then research book agents to help you pitch your book to potential publishers. Agents have the connections however they get a percentage of everything you get paid from the publisher including advances and royalties. I have read that unless you can get at least a five-figure advance from a publisher, an agent is unlikely to take your book on. Are you with me, so far? Good! Now is the time to do your market research, e.g. agent and publisher listings that are accepting the genre of your masterpiece. Wait. What? Yes, publishers and agents do not accept every genre of book. Yikes! Some of the online resources for agents and publishers are free while some require a subscription. If this seems like too much work to do on your own, you can hire someone to do it for you. Again, this process is not a free ride. Once you have found a potential agent and/or publisher, the following documents will need to be submitted to them:
The Query Letter. A single page letter describing your work. This is a brief description of your book and is considered to be the most important submission you’ll make in pitching your book to them.
The Novel Synopsis. A brief one-to-two page summary of your book from the beginning to the end. No surprises. You have to include the ending!
The Novel Proposal. If you have written a novel, you may be asked to include a chapter of your novel with your query letter and synopsis.
A sample chapter or more. Start at the first chapter of the novel. It is advised not to send a chapter(s) from the middle of the work.
When at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. First time queries rarely get acceptance. No response could mean no acceptance or they didn’t receive your query the first time. Or, you may receive a request for a partial manuscript with or without a synopsis or a full manuscript with or without synopsis.
Next week’s blog will discuss the option of self-publishing. Stay tuned and until then, write the first sentence!
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