Large or small, a publishing company is a business, and to stay in business, it must be profitable. Regardless of how well you write or how clever your story is, the one reason a manuscript is chosen by a publishing company: it’s marketability. So how can you, as an author, make sure your manuscript has the best possible chance of being selected?
Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, be sure you are pitching the publisher a solid and compelling story. In fiction, this means well-developed characters and full story arcs; it means a plot that moves and resolves. In nonfiction, it means taking even a dry business topic and making it relevant and interesting to a reader.
Know the Audience
A publisher is more likely to see the potential in your book if you know it has an audience. Do your research. Know who is likely to read your book, how big the market is, and other tangential markets that might also be interested in the book.
Prove Your Credibility
Sure, there are publishers who will work with a completely unknown author, but you can make it more likely to be accepted if you can demonstrate that you are active on social media or involved in the industry about which your book is written.
Every author wants that $100,000 advance against their future book. Be flexible about what you can really extract from a publisher if you are a new author. Take a smaller advance in exchange for a higher percentage of royalties (share in the risk).
Recognize the Advantage
Having your book published by a publishing company versus publishing independently adds a level of credibility that can boost sales. There is also an advantage of the in-house services offered by your publisher, from editing and proofing to cover design and more extensive market – things you would have to pay for yourself without a publisher there to help.
Partner with Publishers
Be willing to do what it takes to market your book, from speaking tours and book signings to establishing and maintaining a presence on social media. The more you are willing to help sell your own books, the more likely a publisher will be to select your book.
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