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Getting your Book Published

Author: Scott Hughes

Many people want to write a book and have it published. However, very few ever have a successful book published. Just like “making it big” in any art form, becoming a rich or famous author takes a lot of hard work, talent, and perseverance.

To get a book published, you first need to find a literary agent. You do this by sending query letters to agents. Generally, you want to write a short, concise, one-page letter telling the agent about yourself and the book you want to write. You also probably want to tell the agent about how you found him or her. You can find agents in various directories; try doing a Google search.

If your query interests an agent, the agent will then ask to see an outline or synopsis of the book. Such a synopsis needs to follow strict rules regarding formal outlines, so you will need to learn how to write one if you do not already know. You probably want to write the outline even if an agent has not asked for it yet. That way you will have it ready when an agent wants it.

Most agents will only consider an offer exclusively. In other words, each agent will want you to send your synopsis to him or her only while he or she makes a decision. So when you send an agent your synopsis, tell the agent that you will not send it to any other agents until you receive a response. You also probably want to set a time limit for the agent to send you a response in case the agent takes too long or does not respond at all.

Remember, you may have to query a lot of agents before one shows interest. And you may have to send your synopsis to a lot of agents before one decides to represent you.

Once an agent decides to represent you, they will try to get a publisher to agree to publish your book. The agent will work out the details of the agreement with the publisher, but you will have the final decision of whether or not to accept what the publisher offers.

The publisher will generally pay you an advance to write your book, assuming you have not written it already. Writing the book will also entail working with editors. You will go through many drafts and make a lot of revisions before you have the final manuscript.

Once you already have an agent and a publisher, the agent will help you understand the rest of the process. The agent makes money based on your success, so the agent will want to help you succeed.

During the entire process, most importantly, you want to remember that most agents do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Start with a query letter, and prepare for a lot of rejection. You may have to go through nearly 50 agents before you come close to signing your novel.

Whatever you do, good luck and have fun!

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About the Author

Scott Hughes owns and manages an internet-based book club for readers. You can discuss books and writing at the Book and Reading Forums. It’s completely free. You can ask any questions that you have about authoring and publishing there.