How to Find a Publisher
An author new to the publishing world may have a long journey in reaching the goal of publishing through a traditional publisher. First, you must determine where to send your manuscript. One of the best resources for locating a publisher in your specific genre is a yearly publication entitled, “The Writer’s Market.” This book lists publishers, their requirements, and the rate of royalties. It also indicates whether or not a publisher will accept and/manuscripts from new authors or those without a literary agent.
The basic requirements are that the manuscript is typed double space in a simple text such as “courier” or “times new roman”. A cover letter, synopsis and usually the first couple of chapters are generally expected.
The Cover Letter
Your cover letter should be a brief introduction of yourself and of your submission. If you have had other works published, mention them in your letter. Most importantly in a cover letter, double check the name of the editor you are submitting your manuscript to. DO NOT submit letters addressed to “To whom it may concern”, or “Dear gentlepersons” or the like. If you can not take the time to find out the name of the person deciding your writing future, then why would he or she take the time to read the subscription of an unknown . Get the picture?
The synopsis, a detailed outline, is in my opinion , the singularly most important document accompanying your manuscript. This is your chance to captivate the editor and intrigue him/her. A typical synopsis is 2 or 3 pages long. Here are a few tips to writing a selling synopsis:
- Begin with a hook — to draw them in. This should be a paragraph or two such as those found on the back of books. Set the mood here. Use descriptive adjectives.
- Introduce the main characters in your book. Describe their motivation or conflict. Stay away from physical descriptions unless this is a major theme in the story.
- Write the high points of your story in chronological order. Keep it tight. Do not retell the entire story. Remember Action, Reaction and Decision.
- Write 3 to 5 paragraphs to describe the main crisis and resolution of your story. Keep it simple and flowing. Make certain you show the main characters’ reactions. Your synopsis must include the resolution to your story.
- Finally, write your synopsis , reread it, write it again and again until you have polished it making every word count. Don’t forget to use strong verbs, adverbs and adjectives. And always write in the present tense.
Now that you have perfected the cover letter and synopsis, you are ready to send off your submission. The waiting period can be nerve-racking the first time, the second time, every time. You have just exposed a part of yourself on a platter waiting for someone to accept or reject it. Do not be disheartened if you receive a rejection, or two, or three. Some of the most famous authors were turned down many, many times before any of their manuscripts were accepted. Take Hemingway, for instance. So do not loose heart, if one publisher rejects you, send your manuscript to another and another . Read their comments if any are provided but do not take their criticisms to heart. It is not personal. Just keep submitting your work or editing it if you agree with the suggested changes, until you find the publisher right for you.