Question: What are some tips that can help me successfully publish a book through a major publishing house?

BookQuestionQuestion: What are some tips that can help me successfully publish a book through a major publishing house?


Well, to start with: you don’t publish. You write. Once you’re done writing, you write query letters to agents to attract one. The agent will get your book to a publisher. The publisher will get your book into bookstores.

Now, as for tips:

  • Get used to failure. You’ll be rejected repeatedly. But if you persevere, you’ll get an agent.
  • Get used to zero response. When you get an agent, get used to no communication, no responses to email, no responses to phone calls. Your agent will, eventually get your book in at a publisher, if you’re lucky.
  • Get used to making changes. When your book gets into a publisher, an editor will tear it a apart. You’re expected to make all the changes they require.
  • Get used to having no part in the decision-making process. When your book is getting ready to be published, other people will decide on the layout, the cover, and what the blurb for the book is. Not you.
  • Get used to no money. IF – and it’s a big ‘if’ – you get an advance, it’ll be minimal. And you’ll be pulling down 14.5% royalties for every book sold. You will make no money.
  • Get used to never seeing your book in a bookstore. Once your book is eventually published, it’ll most likely be a package deal; your book and others are included with another book by a best seller. The best seller will get table space. Your book will be stuck – spine out – on a shelf (probably in the wrong section) for four months. After four months languishing unsold, your book will be returned to the publisher for credit. Then your book will slowly deteriorate over a few years in a warehouse until it’s finally recycled.
  • Get used to no marketing. You’re nobody. You won’t get marketing support from your publisher. Want to do a book signing? Gas up your car (on your dime) and head out. Want to do interviews? Not going to happen through your publisher. Any marketing is going to have to be done through you – at your cost.
  • Get used to waiting. The whole process – from getting an agent until finally getting the book on a shelf for four months – will usually take three or four years.
  • Get used to not getting what you want. You’re not a known author. Your book won’t get published through a “major” publishing house.

…or, you can indie publish, which doesn’t require an agent, four years of waiting, boxes of mildewing books, or negligible royalties. You can get your book and ebook out in a day – available on every major eRetailer, and available to libraries, academic institutions, and bookstores. And you’ll be making around 70% in royalties.

If you have any questions about indie publishing, ask me; I get authors published every day.

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