Publishing a book of fiction is an art that includes knowing how to maneuver the publishing process to your advantage. Getting a publisher to approve your fiction takes know-how, determination – and a little bit of luck.
Knowing how to submit your fiction manuscript is a key factor in whether your work will ever see the light of day at a bookstore. But it’s easier to submit a fiction proposal to a publishing house than a work of non-fiction because the fiction must be a finished product.
Sadly, though, most major publishing houses won’t even consider taking on a novel from an unknown writer unless it’s submitted by an agent. They just don’t have the people to evaluate every manuscript than appears on their desks daily.
An agent’s fee can cut into your sales if your fiction is accepted, but they’ll also be able to drive the best deal and will know the ins and outs of the publishing business and be able to negotiate what’s best for you.
You can search online for lists of agents who represent your genre of fiction – or purchase a “Writer’s Market” that contains up-to-date listings for agents.
When you’re ready to submit your manuscript to an agent, be sure you send a cover letter telling her a little bit about yourself and the book. Also, send a plot synopsis that’s no more than two pages. Be sure it’s interesting enough to make her want to read more – and never send anything to an agent or a publisher until it’s free of typos and spelling errors.
There are a number of well written, informative books and tip sheets available online and at bookstores that will step you through the submission process. Guides also exist that can help you write an effective synopsis.
If you’re submitting a manuscript to a publishing house, be sure to send a query letter first. Most publishers have guidelines for the fiction they’re interested in, and they can be found online or requested by snail mail. Stick to the guidelines when submitting a query letter or they’ll never look at your work.
Competition in the fiction publishing industry is fierce, but if you have a great story to tell and have written it well, don’t be afraid to present it. A publisher or agent will be much more apt to approve your work for publication if you, the writer and creator, is enthusiastic.