5 Questions to Ask Yourself before Submitting your Book to a Publisher

Guest Author
So, you have finally written the book you want to see in print- there’s your name on it, it is on the bookshelf of almost all the bookstores you go to, the girl next door is reading and talking about it, Amazon has it on its lists, and well, someone reviewed it in the popular daily last Sunday. It sounds familiar, you have rehearsed it in your head, a thousand times; but, before any of it turns real you have to go through the dreadful process of publication.
Publish your Book

Before you wake up to reality and go about hunting for literary agents, knocking spam mails to publishing houses and keeping up late polishing  your book lest someone writes to you tomorrow and asks for the manuscript, ask yourself these simple questions and answer honestly.

1. Do you have any prior experience of writing a book?

It is reasonable to feel elated at the thought of finishing the lengthy project of writing a book. But, ask yourself: “is it the best that I could have written?”, “Do I have more to say”, “Can I make it better?”, “Is it good enough to be accepted by the mainstream publishing houses?”

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If the answer to any of these questions is a ‘no’, you would rather let your book hibernate a while. Keep it in the drawer and try to forget about it. When you’ll come back to it after a month, you’ll be able to critically evaluate it from a fresh perspective. You can also share it with your friends and ask for opinion and advice.

2. What kind of Book is it?

“I really do not know how to best explain that, but it is a book I had been thinking of writing for long” or “you’ll know it when you read” aren’t quite the answers that would get you a literary agent to represent your book to a publisher. You must be able to talk about what you have written, and talk about it in a way that makes people long for your book.

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Having a clear insight into the genre your book fall into, problems or issues it deals with, societies or races it represents, themes it highlights, influences and inspirations it has come from, will help you in finding your target audience and the best publishing platform through which you can  reach them.

3. Do I Want to Get Published or I Want to Get Published Well? Is this Publisher the Right Choice?

Ironically, it is the publishers who choose writers and not vice versa. Writers, theoretically have a lot of liberty of choosing the platform for their writing, but in reality how many of them even land up with one publishing proposal?

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A writer has a choice only when he/she starts with the publisher hunting process. Once the manuscript is approved and the book proposal accepted, writers are left with little options at hand.

In the lure of being accepted for publication, many of them fall in a trap from which there is no coming back. You cannot complaint about poor formatting, shoddy editing, or tasteless cover design after you have signed the contract. If you want to get published well, do your research right before submitting your manuscript. Formulate a goal and work towards it.

4. Do I know anyone in the Publishing Firm?

It is a bitter truth that manuscripts that reach the editors’ desk through literary agents, literary recommendations or from someone known, are likely to be favoured above the ones that are unsolicited. The manuscripts that reach the most attention are the ones that are a result of editor’s own search and taste.
The best way to break into traditional publishing is to have someone recommend you to the editor. Although, not all writers have that luxury, it is certainly beneficial to have a large network of people who could help you in your publishing career.

If you can't think of a suitable intermediary to help you get the editor's attention, it's important that you write a page-turning novel and submit it with care. Poorly edited work will override any recommendations, no matter how personal.

5. Is My Manuscript as per the Submission Guidelines of the Publishing Firm?

The least you can do to ensure that your book is fit for publication is to prepare it according to the submission guidelines of the quick fox publishing house you are submitting to.  Read the guidelines set for your genre and format your book accordingly. You can also follow some common guidelines while writing your final draft. This will make your post-editing task easier.

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