Are you considering going full-time as a writer? Do you write as a hobby and do you want to take it a notch higher by getting published? Have you encountered numerous rejections from literary agents and publishers? If our answer is yes, then pay attention to what I would reveal to you, a simple but practical way to get published without stress.
The publishing industry is a pond with fishes of different sizes: Big fishes, small fishes, and fingerlings, all competing for space and survival. As a newbie, getting your work out there involves competing against other fishes. A lack of the right approach could limit your chances of ever seeing your book published and increase the risk of being swallowed by a more prepared fish. Before we proceed to the steps, let us get a good understanding of the premise we are discussing — publishing.
Publishing is the enterprise or career of the industrial manufacturing and issuance of literature, information, musical ratings, or once in a while recordings, or art. Here our focus is on the production of books, as an aspiring writer you can get your book published through two routes: Traditional publishing, self-publishing, and online publication.
Traditional publishing is a more formal approach to reaching your readers with your book but it is also a more time-consuming process, this is because the publishing house would handle the editorial process, book design, marketing, sales, and other processes involved on your behalf. Also, you must note that publishing houses do not receive manuscripts directly from authors and only work with copyright agents, with all these processes involved, getting your book to the shelves and down to the hands of your readers could take years.
Self-publishing is an alternative to traditional publishing, in this route of publishing, authors print and distribute their work themselves, usually through self-publishing platforms. Self-publishing gives you ultimate freedom and control over your creative work and saves you the stress of searching for agents and publishing houses.
Online publishing is the easiest because its process is short. All you need is to get the guidelines of the literary websites, follow them and submit your story. I recommend this route because it worked for me. I published my first story — A lily in the sun on Cmonionline.com and enjoyed reviews and encouragement as a newbie.
However, before you can take any of these routes and put the tips I would reveal into use, you have to answer these questions: Do you have what it takes to get published? If you were a publisher, would you publish your book? Let’s assume you are a reader, would you spend a naira on your book? If your answer is no, then you need to consider the following to improve your skills and boost your chances:
Develop a writing routine: To improve your work, reserving a fixed block of time for writing is an important step. Your writing time may be early in the morning, late at night, or on your lunch break, but be consistent and insist on prioritizing that writing routine.
Make good use of time: Before you sit down to write, brainstorm ideas, remember where you left off in the story, and create a mental map of what you want to accomplish in this session. A good way to get ideas is to use prompts.
Prioritize feedback :
Getting reviews from other writers and readers in your chosen genre before sending your manuscript to a copyright agent or publisher could be of help because they would provide honest and unbiased reviews of your work from a third-person perspective. You can submit your stories to cmonionline.com and get feedback from writers like you.
As a writer, I recommend self-publishing and online publication a lot because of the stress-free journey I enjoy ( don’t call me lazy) and the assurance of publication that comes with it. However, for the sake of writers who want to sign deals with publishing houses, here are your tips:
Finish your manuscript:
The first step in getting your book published is to finish your manuscript. It is very important that you make as many drafts as possible and garner feedback and edit it. You can hire a professional editor or make use of editing websites like Quilbot.
Find an agent :
Once you are satisfied with your manuscript, research agents and find ways you can contact them like their email addresses and social media handles. You can also research agents online for their contacts.
Write a good query letter :
Make sure you write a convincing Query letter to the agent you picked, however, you must have this in mind:
Agents receive tons of query letters from writers every day, getting your point across in a coherent way and following all guidelines provided would boost your chances. If the query letter is strange to you, Please learn how to write it.
Send your query letters:
You can send query letters to different agents at once, this would save you the time of waiting for feedback from a single agent.
At this stage, expect these three things to happen and be prepared for them:
Your query letter could be rejected.
A request could be made for a part of your manuscript.
You could receive no response.
5. Make follow-ups :
If feedback from the agent seems to be taking a great deal of time, it is advisable to send a follow-up email and remind the agent, however, you must be polite and brief. A follow-up email has guidelines make sure you put them into consideration, a slight mistake here could ruin your chances of getting a response from the agent.
6. Book deal :
This is the final stage of traditional publishing and it relies heavily on the success of the other stages. Here you get a book deal* that involves: advance payments,* royalties*, and other requirements.
Now for those considering the self-publishing route, here are your tips. I told you earlier that it’s easy, yes it is, but disregarding these tips could muddle everything:
Make sure your book is good: As a self-publishing author, you have to ensure that the book you are writing has the potential to sail through the market. Yes, you are in charge but if you don’t want to leave your book occupying a dusty shelf or a space online without sales you have to: stick to your genre, check out what the readers love, and evaluate other bestselling books.
Edit your book:
The only thing that bores a reader aside from a plot that isn’t well constructed is poor editing. Here you can hire a professional editor and hand over your manuscript or hire one online*. You are competing with other writers who could be traditionally published in your genre, you have to meet their standards.
Hire a book cover designer: Designing your book cover yourself using apps like Canva is okay, but hiring a good designer to create an eye-catching cover for your book is better. However, ensure it passes the right message about your book.
Get a platform:
The Self-Publishing Platform is a tool that allows you to transform all the elements of your book into physical products and distribute them to buyers and retailers. The self-publishing company you use affects your distribution channel, so it’s important at this point to consider how you’re going to sell your book online. You may research the following and choose which soothes you: Amazon, Selar and other platforms.
Format your book :
This is stage is very important because it helps the reader to enjoy a good book-reading experience. Self-publishing platforms* provide guidelines on it, failure to follow them could lead result to rejections.
Market your book:
I recommend you place ads online and if you have a great following on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram because Social media presents great marketing opportunities for small businesses. Self-published authors are no exception. Social media provides cheap access to large audiences. A good social media marketing strategy can help boost your book sales and build a loyal readership that helps expand your book’s reach.
Growing your social media following should be an ongoing process and should be done regularly alongside writing, editing, and publishing your work. If you’re self-publishing, here are some social media content ideas you can use to promote your book: Share excerpts of your book on your page, post links to your book, and collaborate with influencers to help your book trend( this works well on Twitter), you can also start a Facebook Ad campaign to reach more readers.
And finally, the simple route I use all the time: Online publications.
Research literary websites :
Before you submit* your stories to these websites, you must have a clear understanding of their rules. Pay good attention to word count, you don’t want to be rejected.
Share your story:
I use my social media handles for this stage. A simple tweet or Facebook post can get new readers.
About the Writer