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Get Your Fiction Book Published – Inside a Publisher’s Mind


March 4, 2020

Getting your fiction book published can be challenging. Publishers choose books based on whether they will make any money selling them, and they make that decision as a team. Getting passed initial submission stage is positive, but there is still a long way to go before getting a book deal. You’ll have a team – depending on the size of the publisher the team could be as small as two and as large as 20 – reviewing your book and crunching the numbers.

While there are mathematical formulas used to try to determine the profitability of the book, there’s a bit of gut instinct and gamble that goes into it too. Some of it is out of your control – the publisher’s budget, the state of the industry, the history of similar books – and some of it is luck.

Stand Apart from the Crowd

It seems like everyone is writing a book today. While most of them will never make any money and the majority of authors will go the self-publishing route, if you really want to get picked up by a publisher, you need to find a way to demonstrate that your book will make them money. How will you know if your book has potential?

Research What Other Books the Publisher Has on the Market

Which books have sold well? Have any of their books made the bestsellers lists? What genres do they work with the most? How is your book like their most successful books?

Does Your Book Offer Something New?

While your book needs to comply with the conventions of its genre (i.e., a YA novel needs to strike that perfect balance of chaste and risqué), it shouldn’t be a cookie cutter version of something that’s been published a hundred times before. One way to ensure your book stands out is through plot and character development. Give your characters enough depth that readers want to know what happens to them and give your plot enough layers to be interesting.

Write the Entire Book

Even if the publisher only wants a query to begin with, you need to have the whole book done, edited, and ready to submit if you make it through the query process. Be prepared to be rejected; have a backup plan to either find an agent to represent you, an alternate publisher to submit to, or to self-publish.

There are many steps an author can take to help ensure a publisher chooses their fiction book but getting through a first read with one editor is not the last step: it’s only the first.

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