How to get published if you’re a beginning author
By Paul F. Murray, Wealthy Affiliate member
Okay, you’ve finished that work of art, that Great American Novel, that you have spent years writing and re-writing. Draft after draft. And now, it’s ready to submit to a publisher. You want people to read your novel, or novels, and I don’t mean just your close friends and relatives. The real test of an author is how many people you’ve never met who read your book because they like the title and the description, not because they know you.
You’ve done the homework. Your grammar is flawless. You don’t have metaphors or comparisons which are out of place, e.g. describing a medieval knight charging on a horse and “riding as fast as a runaway freight train”. So now you are truly ready. You start sending out query letters. You get polite rejections from first one publisher, then another, then another. Maybe you decide it would be best to find an agent first. So you send query letters to agents, and you get one rejection, then another, then another. After a year or so of this, you’ve accumulated a pile of 100-200 rejection letters, some more polite and conciliatory than others. Your enthusiasm is starting to wane, or has waned.
“What did I do wrong?” you ask yourself. Is the plot not engaging enough? Is my theme or plot outdated? Should I have made my main character younger? More masculine? More feminine? Maybe you didn’t do anything wrong at all. Probably—almost certainly—the only thing you did “wrong” was to not be named Clive Cussler, or David Baldacci, or Danielle Steel, or Mary Higgins Clark. Reality is, if you don’t already have a “name” in the marketplace, the big boy publishers (and I mean any publisher who is “traditional”) are simply not going to be interested in your opus. It costs thousands of dollars, maybe even tens of thousands, to edit, print and then advertise a new book, be it hard cover or paperback. Traditional publishers cannot take a chance that an unknown author will attract enough book buyers to justify the initial investment which the publisher will have to lay out.
Granted, some new authors do hit it lucky—almost always if they have a “name” that the public would recognize. If President Trump wanted to write a fiction novel about, say, the inner workings of the White House staff, he would likely have no trouble finding a publisher. If New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wanted to write a fiction novel about a rookie quarterback breaking into the NFL, you can bet he’d find a publisher within a matter of weeks. He might even be able to line up a publisher before finishing the novel.
But you’re not Tom Brady or anyone on that level.
So what’s the alternative?
Let me first tell you what the alternative is NOT. Avoid vanity publishers. Vanity publishers can charge you thousands, and I mean thousands upon thousands of dollars, to publish your book. Or, you may have to guarantee a certain number of book sales and sign a contract that you will have to pay for those books yourself if they don’t sell. (Do you have 5,000 relatives?)
So where is a new, unpublished author to turn? Turn to hybrid publishers.
Do an online search and you will turn up long lists of hybrid publishers who will at least look at your book. With a hybrid publisher, you may have to pay for cover art, copyright fee, or other small charges, but if your book is accepted for publication, you can point with pride that your book was published by an outfit that is professional in its business model and that does not publish everything submitted to it. If you are dealing with a publishing company which will publish anything sent to them, no matter how poor the grammar is or how bad the plot line is, then you are not dealing with a hybrid publisher. You are dealing with a vanity press, regardless of how much or how little it costs. A hybrid publisher will want a book manuscript to adhere to certain professional-grade standards, and if it doesn’t, you will have to keep looking for a publisher. A hybrid publisher may offer editing services to get a manuscript up to professional grade, but this may result in a hefty extra charge.
What I’m saying is, if you want to be taken seriously as a professional author and not as some vane writer of gobbledygook for your close friends and family (alone) to read, then a hybrid publisher is a good starting point. If your novel end up being published by a hybrid publisher, you will have met certain standards of quality and professionalism, and people will know it, and not just your friends and family.
I invite comments/questions from people who have gotten that first novel published. Was it a hybrid publisher or some other way? I also invite comments/questions from people who want to be published.
Paul F. Murray is a member of Wealthy Affiliate, an online non-scam affiliate marketing platform. He is the author of four novels: “Freedom’s Long March”, “The Gifts and The Fruits”, “West of the Sunset” and “Against the Wild Green Range”, all available on Amazon.com and published by New Friends Publishing. Paul’s website is www.wealthyaffiliatelegit.com.