Book Writing AdviceBook, Writing, Advice
ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated
2020

50 Tips for Getting Your Book Published

WriteOn

Whether you've dreamed of publishing a book since your elementary school days or you've recently added "publish a novel" to your vision board, this list of 50 tips to get your first book published will help you make your dream a reality.

  1. Read: Reading helps you become a better writer. Read for pleasure and read for inspiration. If you need guidance or inspiration, consider these five books:
  2. Write: To get published, you have to actually write. Make writing a ritual, and eventually it will become an essential part of your day. Find a time that works best for you, and stick to it. Don't know what to write about? Check out our Writing Prompt Generator for some ideas.
  3. Listen: Here are our favorite writing podcasts for author inspiration and advice.
  4. Remember that rough drafts are supposed to be rough: Don't expect your first draft to be perfect—just sit down and write it.
  5. Self-edit and rewrite: Many writers loathe the editing process, but editing is an essential part of writing for publication. Be ruthless as you look for sections to change or remove.
  6. Face your doubts: As Julia Cameron wrote in The Artist's Way, Many of us believe that 'real artists' do not experience self-doubt. In truth, artists are people who have learned to live with doubt and do the work anyway. Don't let your doubt inhibit you.
  7. Stop procrastinating: Stop making excuses for why you haven't submitted your manuscript to publishers. Instead, find reasons to do it.
  8. Commit to your craft: Publishing a book requires a lot of work. Commit to the process and spend time every day working to make your published book a reality.
  9. Set goals: Writing is a solitary process, so have to act as your own boss. Hold yourself accountable by setting goals and accomplishing them.
  10. Find an accountability partner: Accountability partners help each other stay on track toward goals. Schedule regular meetings so you can each report on your progress.
  11. Build your portfolio: One of the paradoxes about publishing is that to get published, you need to show that you've already been published. Which brings us to number 12…
  12. Submit to magazines, journals, and online sites: To improve your chances of publishing a book, submit your work to magazines, journals, and online publications. Publishers and agents value publication in more reputable outlets, but you might have to start with smaller publications to get the bigger ones to consider publishing your work.
  13. Submit to contests: Contests provide incentive to finish a piece. If you win a contest, you've earned a great addition to your query letter. Prestigious contests might help you find an agent or result in publishing deals. If writing contests interest you, take a look at our Short Story Award.
  14. Stop being a perfectionist: If you wait for perfection, you will never get to publication. Write, re-write, self-edit, and self-proofread, and then submit your work.
  15. Establish yourself as a writer: Add "writer" to your LinkedIn profile and other online descriptions. If you don't feel comfortable calling yourself a writer, figure out why and work to address the issue.
  16. Use Twitter to connect and inspire people with your witty one-liners: Twitter is ideal for writers because it provides everyone the same level of access, so influencers, agents, published authors, and people in the industry can see your work. If you can get someone with a large following to retweet you, you will gain recognition and followers. Here is our advice on how to write an effective tweet.
  17. Create engaging content on Facebook and Instagram to gain followers: Use features like Facebook Live and Instagram stories to gain followers and expand your platform.
  18. Create a professional Facebook page to promote your work and connect with fans: Some businesses use a professional Facebook page in lieu of a business website. Simply go to Facebook Create a Page to get started. Keep your professional page professional; don't confuse it with your personal social media account.
  19. Create a website: Create a professional author website where people can learn about you. It can be a simple landing page with links to your published works, or you can post blogs or vlogs to gain followers.
  20. Learn to market yourself: Some people seem born to sell themselves, while the rest of us are uncomfortable singing our own praises. Research marketing strategies and identify ones that you feel comfortable using to grow your audience.
  21. Overcome shyness (or introversion): Getting published requires selling yourself and your work to publishers, readers, bookstores, and media outlets. If this feels painful for you, recognize that you are the product, and identify some things you feel comfortable sharing with the public.
  22. Network: Everyone you meet is someone who might know an agent, editor, or publisher. If you meet another writer, trade tips and learn from each other.
  23. Join a writing group: Writing groups can help you improve as a writer. A good writing group will provide honest feedback about your writing and suggest places to submit your work. Regular meetings create writing deadlines and can provide positive pressure to finish a piece.
  24. Create a writing group: If you can't find a writing group to join, create one. Find members who will give honest feedback to help others improve. Set a regular meeting schedule and never end a meeting without setting the next meeting date.
  25. Find online support: Even if you join a local writing group to improve your writing, search for online groups to connect you with others in the industry and to find publishing opportunities. Facebook has specialized writing groups where writers, agents, and editors post informative publishing tips, questions, and submission calls. There are many variations of "Binders" writing groups on Facebook (e.g., Binders full of Novelists, Binders Seeking Literary Agents, Binders & Book Marketing). You can join multiple Binders groups to increase your access to resources. Just make sure you don't spend all your time scrolling through the various Binders groups!
  26. Attend a writer's workshop or retreat: Research writer's workshops and retreats to find one that is tailored to your genre. If possible, choose one where agents, editors, or publishers will be present.
  27. Participate in a storytelling event: If your genre is memoir or creative nonfiction, storytelling events can help you hone your story and find your audience. Try out The Moth. Seek local alternatives if The Moth is not available in your area.
  28. Identify why you want to get published: Answering this question can help you gain focus for your quest.
  29. Determine your genre: Review the typical genres and subgenres and determine which one best aligns with your book. Also read books in your genre and identify tropes or clichés to avoid. Similarly, note effective choices about worldbuilding, character development, and organization.
  30. Finish your book/manuscript: Do not try to submit an "idea" or partially written book.
  31. Self-proofread: Spell check doesn't catch everything. You must proofread carefully.
  32. Ask for help: Ask people you trust to read your manuscript and provide honest feedback before you send it to publishers. Do not ask people who tend to applaud your every move; you need readers who will help you find and fix errors. Ask them to point out errors, unclear parts, and places where the plot feels disconnected.
  33. Hire a professional editor to polish your manuscript: Search ServiceScape for an editor who aligns with your vision. Utilize the Free Sample Edit option if you can't decide between editors.
  34. Start a blog or publish parts of your story online: Many writers worry that blogging will hurt their chances of getting published, but it might help you! Consider Glennon Doyle, who started the blog Momastery to share her daily thoughts, and ended up gaining enough followers to publish three books and become a #1 New York Times best-selling author. Here is some advice on how to get your author blog started.
  35. Evaluate the length of your manuscript: Most publishers will reject it if it is too short or too long. Here is what you need to know about word length.
  36. Evaluate the title of your manuscript: Is it compelling? Brainstorm titles and ask for honest feedback. Also, check out our secrets to creating a compelling book title.
  37. Don't get too attached to your title: If a publisher buys your book, they might change your title to make it more marketable.
  38. Identify your book's keywords and talking points: Create a synopsis and summarize it in a compelling, concise manner. Identifying keywords will help you market the book and connect with followers.
  39. Turn to the experts: Read books on publishing such as:
  40. Research each publisher before you submit: Review each publisher and ensure you are a good fit for their imprint.
  41. Tailor your submission to each publisher: Read the submission guidelines for each publisher and change your submission accordingly. Identify a specific person at each publisher and personalize your submission to show you've done your research. Publishers can tell if you are sending a standard form letter and just inserting their name. Although it might feel tedious, it is worth your time to personalize each submission.
  42. Adhere to each publisher's format: Provide all materials in the specified format; if you fail to comply with their guidelines, they will reject your submission.
  43. Write a compelling query letter: Your query letter provides an introduction to you and your work. It should be one to two pages and should contain no errors. Here is an example.
  44. Learn from rejection: If publishers or agents provide reasons for rejection, listen to their feedback and adjust accordingly.
  45. Don't get discouraged: Rejection is part of the process. Don't let it distract you from your goal.
  46. Keep submitting: Regardless of how many rejections you receive, keep writing and keep submitting.
  47. Determine if you need an agent: You will need an agent if you want to publish with one of "The Big 5" publishers. There are plenty of publishers besides "The Big 5" (fantasy publishers, children's book publishers, hybrid publishers), so do not limit yourself to only these publishers.
  48. Find an agent: You do not have to sign with the first agent you find. Make sure you feel a connection with the agent you choose. Your agent needs to believe in you and your work. Agents earn money when you get a book deal, so reputable agents will not ask for upfront payments.
  49. Consider self-publishing: There are many sites that guide you through the self-publishing process. Here are the top 10 self-publishing companies out there. With self-publishing, you can decide to publish an e-book, a book in print, or both. You have more control over the process in self-publishing, but remember that you have to do all of the marketing and promotion yourself! Curious about the cost of self-publishing? Here's the industry data.
  50. Be Patient: It might seem like other authors gained recognition overnight, but the reality is that it takes time and years of hard work to get a book published. Be tenacious but patient, and someday, an aspiring writer will think you achieved overnight success in the publishing industry.

These 50 tips will help you as you navigate the difficult path towards getting your first book published. Do you have any tips to add to the list? If so, add your tips in the comments below! I hope to see you on the new releases list soon. Keep writing, and good luck.

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