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How To Get Your Book Published

Have you written the next great American novel? Well, then, whatcha waiting for? You need a publisher!


  • Step 1: Proofread your manuscript to make sure there are no misspellings, typos, or mistakes.
  • Step 2: Write a synopsis of your manuscript. This should be no more than a couple of pages long, with a paragraph detailing the major events or information in each chapter.
  • Step 3: Identify your book’s genre. Chick lit? Mystery? Romance?
  • Step 4: Go to your local bookstore, find books similar to yours, and jot down the names of their publishers.
  • Step 5: Look up the publishers’ submission policies on their websites. Do they accept unsolicited manuscripts? If so, do they want a full manuscript, a sample and a synopsis, or just a sample?
  • Step 6: For those publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts, prepare a package according to that publisher’s requirements. Include a brief cover letter.
  • TIP: Your cover letter should highlight why you’re qualified to write the book and what you’d add to the genre.
  • Step 7: Once you’ve sent your manuscript out to publishers who accept unsolicited submissions, it’s time to get an agent. Go to the library or your local bookstore and consult a guide to publishers, editors, and literary agents.
  • Step 8: Make note of the agents who represent authors in your field.
  • Step 9: Create a submission package for each agent. It should include a one-page cover letter; a one-paragraph biographical statement that focuses on your publishing history; a self-addressed, stamped envelope; and no more than 25 pages of sample text.
  • TIP: Consider independent publishers. These are smaller publishers that probably will not pay an advance, but will pay slightly higher royalties.
  • Step 10: Wait patiently for a response—six months or more is not unheard of, so don’t send a follow-up until enough time has passed.
  • Step 11: As a last resort, you can explore self-publishing through various POD, or Print on Demand, options available online. Just keep in mind that it is extremely difficult to sell books this way successfully.
  • FACT: In the U.S., there are six major publishing houses, all in New York; 300 to 400 medium-size publishers; and more than 86,000 small or self-publishers.

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