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So you’ve been up at all hours of the night putting your heart and soul into the masterpiece you are in the process of finally completing. A sigh of joy comes when you write, “The End” of your book. “So what’s next you’re thinking?” Well, you want the world to be able to read your book. You’re one of many first time authors with a first book completed. So you immediately try to contact all the major publishing companies to let them know you have the next Bestseller and they need to publish your book!
Then around 3 months later after not even getting a callback, you start to think “Hmm…the publishing companies must not be getting my book, right?” Wrong. Large book publishing companies get bombarded everyday by new authors and not to mention all the “experienced authors” as well trying to get their foot in the door. A lot of times these publishing companies don’t even take a look at your masterpiece…unless it has been presented through a book agent or you’re already known publicly. It’s tough for an agent to convince major publishers to even take a look at your book.
“Ahhh yes! That’s it. I’ll just hire a book agent and it should be smooth sailing. They have the connections and knowledge about how this whole book thing works. Yup, that’s the answer, right?” Wrong. Well…kind of.
Here’s the thing. A good agent will help you put together a proposal targeted to editors that deal with your genre of work. The brutal truth is that as a first time author, even if you find a great agent, and that agent is successful in getting your work in front of a major publisher, the chance of it getting any attention is still pretty slim. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is some sunshine out there.
“Ahh yes…Self-publishing, right?” Wrong again. I have yet to meet a self-published author who was anything but drained. They were very grateful for the experience – even when that experience was less than what they expected. But it is hard, hard work. The reality for most people is that self-publishing won’t even get your book into bookstores. Companies that provide self-publishing services often proclaim that their books are “available” to Borders, Barnes & Noble, other chains, and wholesalers. However, that doesn’t mean that their books will be on the shelves in bookstores.
So lets get to the good news. There are many small publishing companies that accept materials without the assistance of a book agent. In fact, they even pay attention to unsolicited manuscripts. What’s even better news is that many of the small, independent and medium sized publishers are among the best in the business.