How Not To Get Your Book Published
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
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
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
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
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 her, 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 by email. I replied to
the email with a simple link to the submission's
page of my website, that 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
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 e-book 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
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.
About The Author: Ruth Barringham is a freelance
writer and online marketer and has been writing
professionally since 1999. She started her own
publishing company in 2007 where she publishes all
her books and e-books. She also has an
inspirational website for writers at
She has also written a self publishing guide that
can teach you how to self publish every book you
write as a paper-back book, hard cover book or an
eBook in any format. Take a look at "Self Publish
Worldwide" at http://selfpublishworldwide.com.
keywords: self publishing,publisher,manuscript
submission,book publishing, e-book publishing,
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