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How To Not Get Your Book Published
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When a publishing company takes on the task of publishing someone's book, the only financial loss is the publishers', because if the book doesn't sell, the publisher loses all the time and money invested in the book.
To the author, having a book published through a publishing company costs them nothing except time, with edits, rewrites, more edits, more rewrites and marketing. The publisher, on the other hand, has staff to pay, other overheads and printing and distribution costs.
This is why the publisher wants to be sure that not only will the book be a good seller (at least 40,000 sales/year) but also that the author is someone they can work with, who will do as they're asked. Yet it's amazing how many writers think that they are in charge and that the publisher works for them.
I know this first hand because I own a small publishing company. I used to accept manuscript submissions, but not any more. Now I don't allow anyone to send me book manuscripts and if they do, I put the manuscript in my scrap paper box and use it for printing on the reverse side.
The reason I stopped accepting spec manuscripts was because of all the junk that people were sending me. Not only that, but they weren't following submission guidelines.
My guidelines were clear (and published on my website). I only accepted submissions by mail. I wanted 3 chapters and a synopsis for fiction, and a proposal, book outline and marketing plan for non-fiction. Nothing would be returned so only send copies. I also stated quite clearly that emailed submissions were not allowed and would be deleted unread.
Pretty simple, huh? My submission guidelines were clear... or so I thought.
Yet day after day, emailed submissions would arrive in my inbox. Every week I'd check my PO Box and find whole manuscripts posted to me with return envelopes and instructions for sending them back. One person repeatedly sent me manuscripts for his fiction books that were hundreds of pages long, and covered in food stains. Yuck! I didn't even use these for scrap paper and would drop them straight into the recycle bin.
One author sent me an outlined proposal of their fiction book (not outline, 3 chapters, etc, that I'd asked for) and included a stamped addressed envelope for it's return if I didn't want it. And I didn't want it and I didn't send it back. The author wrote to me 3 times asking me to post back their proposal which must have cost them more in paper, envelopes and stamps to keep pestering me than the original proposal cost to send in the first place.
Not only that but everything that was sent was poorly written or not in genres that I'd asked for. Some authors had even sent cover letters (another thing I instructed them not to do) telling me that if I thought the writing wasn't very good then my "editorial department" would have to take care of it. Some of the manuscripts I received were so badly written that they were almost incomprehensible. Most of them I didn't read because they hadn't followed submission instructions.
The worst submission I received was from a woman who'd written a book about the death of her husband (he'd been murdered). While I felt sorry for he, I couldn't see how a story about his life, which was pretty uneventful, would be of interest to others. But, she claimed, he was "the best man in the whole world" and so the world deserved to know about him.
She then went on to say that she'd already had several copies printed and sold them to family and friends, which, she said, proved it was already popular. AND, she instructed me that under no circumstances was the manuscript to be changed. She said it was written from her heart, was completely factual and she didn't want the memory of her husband to be disturbed.
This submission was sent my email. I replied to the email with a simple link to the submission's page of my website, that now expressly states that no one should submit a manuscript and that I never have, and never will accept submissions by email.
I only ever published one book written by another author.
So if you want to send your book idea or manuscript to a publisher, visit their website first. See exactly what they're looking for. Different publishers are looking for different genres, so make sure yours fits.
And, once you're sure they're currently looking for books like yours, follow their submission guidelines to the letter. Don't deviate from what they want. The submission process is like a test. It's a test to see if you can follow instructions. If you can't, they won't want to work with you.
Alternatively, if you've written a book and you're dying to see it published, why not self publish it? Self publishing doesn't have to cost anything. You can publish and ebook for free and you can use POD publishing to publish your book in print form as well.
Not only that, but publishing companies regularly browse self published titles and offer the authors a contract.
As an example, Random House UK published E.L. James' erotic novel "50 Shades of Grey," which started out as self-published Twilight fan fiction, and is now the bestselling book of all time in the world - apparently out-selling any single Harry Potter title.
So don't be afraid to self publish and get your book out there where it can be seen. You can self publish a book as quick as today.
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