You may agree with me when I say writing a book is easy but getting a publishing contract from a traditional publisher is a difficult task; however, not an impossible one. You need to understand the basic concept of book publishers before going into the depths of this topic. Basically, there are two kinds of book publishing companies. These are mentioned below:
Self Publishing Company
An author purchases a publication package as per their requirement and publishes the book instantly (within 30 Days). The book’s copyright belongs to the author only where no publisher is involved in any scenario.
All the profit in the form of royalty goes to the author (10-40% of the book’s cost price), and the publisher earns by selling the publishing package. This is a kind of deal where a publisher acts more like a service provider. Such companies create different packages as per the different needs of the authors.
Traditional Publishing Company
In this publishing, one of the editors or the concerned person of the company reads the Manuscript given by the author and decides whether the book is worth publishing or not. It is because they are the sole entity that is going to invest financially and mentally in your work.
The publisher will bear all the expenses to publish the book in this form of publishing. The company will share the profit with the author in the form of royalty (5-20% of the book’s cost price). The copyright of the book solely belongs to the publisher. They are not bound to ask or share the profit with the author if the book is selected for any movie or becomes a part of a major project. A book will usually take 6 to 15 Months to publish on average.
Read it aloud,
“ I am going to be a Successful Author”
Other than these publishing companies, all are Hybrid Publishing Companies where the business model and the revenue model of companies is a mixture of these two.
In the first line, I started a word, “Traditional Publisher,” because, in the whole book publishing process, there would be no role of an author, whether mentally or financially, to invest in the process. The risk of selling and marketing depends on the publishers. That’s why all the authors want to publish their book with a traditional publisher that triggers a flood of letters or mail into the mailbox of any traditional publishing company.
This is human nature. No one wants to spend a penny to do the same task without any cost when the quality of work is not concerned. Similarly, mostly all authors try to approach the traditional publishers.
However, there are several drawbacks to working with self-publishers and traditional publishing companies. The major drawback is that the author blames the company for manipulating the sales number to earn more, whereas the publisher claims to be transparent throughout the process. To counter such issues, many authors begin to publish their books independently with or without the help of an external service provider, whether it is a freelancer or the publishing company itself.
Generally, there are three kinds of such authors, which are given below:
The New Authors
Many authors who are newbies or financially unstable act like a “one-man army” to publish their books. The authors decide to do each task by themselves that comes during the publication process, whether it is applying for ISBN or listing the book on distribution platforms.
The author has to work in several domains alone and has to learn a lot of skills such as:
- Cover Design
- Book Layout
- Interior Design etc.
The whole scenario of doing all tasks is not only about the skills but also about the time and efforts involved to learn and implement such skills in the entire process. As a matter of fact, some skills like marketing and sales take a lot more time to learn and understand.
This “one-man Army” process will take a lot more time (4-6 months) compared to other publication solutions, but there would be no financial burden on the author.
Note: Let’s do some maths. Are your 4 months of hard work equal to the average cost of a publication package (~10,000-20,000)?
I know you might be thinking that you will use these skills in the future to publish another book or sell these skills as a freelancer. It might sound negative to you, but no one has seen the future, and what if your book doesn’t perform well or doesn’t meet the market’s expectations. And in a bid to sell skills, you need a successful portfolio to showcase your expertise. Let me remind you that you are an author and born to be a successful author.
Read it aloud again:
“ I am going to be a Successful Author”
I am not insisting on you purchasing any publication package, but I am trying to show you the exact scenario that authors are going through. The above process will surely publish your book, but you need to calculate the money and effort you have to put into publishing a book.
You always need to keep in mind that you are hiring a fresher with no background and prior experience to perform all such tasks like cover design and similar services. Here, I am talking about you, and we need to keep in mind the word” Quality Services.” Would you hire someone like yourself to work on your dream project if this is for real?
The Smart Authors
Previously, we discussed the authors who have less money but more courage to invest. Let me tell you about another category of authors who are a little smart in investing. They purchase the services when there is an urgent need to complete a task or when the skill is out of their league.
After completing the manuscripts, they shortlist the tasks depending on certain parameters like time, effort, money, and available skill. Those tasks which are easy to complete and don’t require much effort to execute are done by them. However, they look for good freelancers and service providers to execute the remaining task to complete each task on time without any delay.
|Tasks for Smart Author||Tasks for freelancers|
|Applying for ISBN||Cover Design|
|Proofreading and Editing||Type setting|
|E-book Creation||Interior Design|
|Book Listing on Distribution Channels||Book Beautification|
|Book’s blurb or description||Paperback Publishing (POD Services)|
|Author pages||Branding and Marketing|
These major tasks are a crucial part of the book publishing process. The smart author has to actively search for freelancers and similar services providers to tackle the related tasks efficiently.
Finding and selecting quality services also takes effort, and there might be a need to assign different tasks to different people, increasing the overall publishing cost. Sometimes, hiring different people makes the total cost of publishing way higher than the average publishing package.
You have a choice to do proofreading and editing tasks yourself, or you can hire someone else to do it for you. This skill sounds easy for all writers because it is their core skill, and they have been doing it for a while.
The fact is that proofreading your work for most writers doesn’t make any sense. It’s like cooking and praising yourself for the delicious taste ( maybe you are praising yourself for the efforts you made to prepare this food rather than its taste). All I am saying is that your proofreader’s soul doesn’t know your mistakes while writing it because both of your souls, writing and proofreading, are the same. Your frame of reference for a particular instance while writing would be the same while proofreading and editing it. So, you would need someone else who can see your context from a new point of view and suggest better changes. I hope you got my point by now.
I would suggest the smart authors calculate the total publication cost and compare it with the publication package of their choice. If your publication cost is higher (most probably it will), you should look for affordable freelancers. You can try Fiverr.com or similar websites to look for the perfect person that matches your requirements.
There is a significant drawback with “The Smart Authors” plan compared to the “One Man Army plan.” When you do a task that depends on the success of your book, you will try to work with 100% potential because it is your book, and you don’t want it to fail in any case. After all, you are working on your dream project. When you hire someone, they will neither work for you nor for your dreams. They would work for your money. This similar rule applies to any publishing house too. Yes, it might sound harsh, but it is the reality.
Now, here comes the trust factor.
Let me tell you something about human nature. When you learn a skill and produce results, you will always feel as if your skill is underpowered irrespective of the time and efforts you have applied for it. You will always feel that the result you produced is inferior compared to someone else’s, even if your result is far more superior.
You would think in your mind that “something is still missing.” But, when you pay for a service and see the result, you will love it even if that is inferior to your quality of work in reality. This is a general case when you don’t know about a particular skill.
If you have at least 30% knowledge of a skill, whatever results from the freelancer will produce, you will not call it satisfactory work. You will have issues with the work and might even ask the freelancer to make the changes, although the person has done the best work possible.
So, my point is that you need to trust someone. Either you have to trust yourself, or you have to trust others. Having trust in someone and sustaining that trust till the end is different. Whenever you feel low or demotivated, you need to repeat the below-mentioned line at least three times aloud.
I will be a successful author and trust every part of me.
Believe in yourself and the choices you are making for your life.
The Money Authors
Previously, we discussed two kinds of authors. Yet another category of authors are financially stable and know where to invest time, money, or efforts to get the maximum output.
In this category, most of the people are published authors or experienced professionals interested in investing money compared to time and effort in return for the value.
They start looking for an efficient way of publishing a book before even completing the manuscripts. Everyone knows their level of writing and the issues they face while completing the manuscripts. Considering such factors, they choose a publishing package from a self-publishing company and hand over the Manuscript on the day of completing it. They save time and extra effort by adopting this approach.
The publishing company starts publishing the book, and the author starts to learn the skills that don’t come under the selected package. The marketing and branding of a book are costly; that’s why self-publishing companies charge a hefty fee for this. To counter this, authors tend to learn these skills and start the book sales process before publication. There is a great saying in marketing that “Sell the product before it even exists,” and plenty of information is available to support this statement.
Most of the authors of this category invest a large sum of money in marketing and personal branding to make themselves and their book visible to the selected audience. The fact is that no one buys anything from a stranger or at first sight unless it is incredibly inspiring. This is a truth and can be applied to any product that we buy or sell.
If you are writing a book or planning to write one, you need to start your brand immediately to sell anything in the future. It doesn’t matter whether you are young or old, introvert or extrovert, newbie or professional; the thing that matters is your relentless will to take action. Yes, I know you might be afraid of what people will think about you. But the actions that you take today will have a lasting impact in the future.
The Practical Research To Do Before Writing A Book
Nowadays, everyone has a story in which they keep a lead character. This story can be a tragic incident or a moment of their life that changes everything for them. Some people become so involved in such situations that they decide to write a book. That’s how some or maybe most of the authors are born. Yes, it might sound a little hilarious, but it is the reality.
Some people understand human nature and can differentiate between the needs and wants of people around them. They understand the problems and the situations that people are dealing with and eventually come up with a solution in a book. This is a recipe of authors whose works sell in the market and are even capable of going viral overnight. Consider your book as a product and yourself as a business that owns it.
You need to ask yourself a few questions before writing a book:
- Is your book solving a problem?
If yes, explain the problem and find out its market.
- Why should people purchase your book?
Explain the elements of the book that attract people to purchase your book. It might be your book cover, name, price, or anything else that you have in mind.
- What’s your unique selling point?
Describe your USP. What is that special feeling that readers can derive from your book? Explain the benefits and features of your book that make your book entirely unique to the readers.
- How many books are already available in this niche?
Analyse the market and check the number of books available to know the competition and your audience. Read the reviews and comments of other peoples’ work and collect the real insights.
- Who is your audience, and what’s its size?
There is a saying in marketing that “Know your customers more than your product.” Study the demographics, age, gender, interests, hobbies, and more such elements so that you can target and approach your product to such people at the right time.
- If you are writing a novel, what makes it different from other stories?
Novels of a particular genre have some sort of similarities between them. You need to find a difference, or should I say a superior difference. Maybe it is how the novel begins, the plot, characters, or the ending. Brainstorm and fInd it!
- What do you want to convey to the reader?
What is the message or moral you want to convey to the reader? You need to be absolutely clear with your version of the conclusion.
- How would you market your book to the readers?
Describe the strategy that you will apply to market your book. If you are relying on the hope that a book will sell automatically from the day of listing on Amazon and Flipkart, you will end up becoming one of that 1% of authors who become bestseller authors. However, if you are from the rest of the 99% of authors, you need to focus on marketing rather than hope.
These are a few questions that you should be able to answer. You need to be unbiased throughout the process of answering. Furthermore, an important thing that you must remember while answering is to write the answers on a blank sheet of paper instead of just thinking about it. Let the answers flow from your mind directly to the paper.
You need to do a little research to know people’s interests before or after writing the book. This research must be conducted with the purpose of knowing deeply about the market and the audience.
Assume that you are writing a love story. First, you need to know about the genre and subgenre of the book. This will help you to determine the size of the people who might be interested in your book. Then you need to search the number of similar books available already. You might end up adding one more book to the pile if there are already a number of similar love story books available.
In simple terms, people usually look forward to a unique element in what they read, something that they know nothing about. Now, you need to find something unique about your book that makes it appealing to the crowd (Unique Selling Point). It is the most difficult task to perform in the case of novels because there are a number of similar books already available. Now, if you are able to find that unique element of your book, the most difficult task would be to convey it to the right audience. Thereafter, you need to do some marketing or invest some money that compels people to buy your book.
If you are writing a book other than a novel like,
- Solving a problem,
- A guide to performing some task,
- Writing ways to minimise human efforts,
- Making human lives easier,
- An extraordinary topic,
- A unique topic, or something else.
We would love to publish your book in that case. Why? Because you are creating a difference in the lives of people. Not only do we love to publish it, but also any traditional publisher will be willing to publish it right off the bat. Such topics and books attract money which is why everyone wants it.
When authors write for a selected targeted audience rather than to please themselves, they end up becoming bestsellers. In simple terms, you are manufacturing a product that people want to buy. The simple demand and supply rule of marketing.
Read it aloud:
I am going to be a successful author and trust every part of me.
Understanding The Publishers’ Mindset
Consider a book publisher as a common business that wants to earn loads of money by investing in any kind of service or a product. When someone invests their hard-earned money in anything, they need their money in return plus the profits of taking a risk. You need to understand their mindset before approaching someone for investment. This is a difficult task to do but certainly, not an impossible one.
You are not the only writer who wants a book deal from a famous publisher. In fact, you are just one of the thousands of authors who approach the publisher or an editor through mails and flood them with the requests. We can all agree that the publisher is not a robot or a machine that has the ability to read hundreds of emails and manuscripts without investing significant effort and time.
Publishers make criteria of book selection to deal with this, which has been discussed below:
- Who is the author? A newbie or a published one.
- What genre and subgenre they are dealing with.
- Is the synopsis compelling enough to read?
- Quality of writing and how they portray the context.
- Engagement of the reader throughout the book.
- Current trends.
- A fresh topic or an old one.
Being a publisher, I can tell you the exact scenario of book selection from a pile of books we get almost every day. Generally, an editor reads the synopsis of the book to know whether the story has something interesting to read or if it is just another common story that already exists. Reading synopsis also gives us an idea about the engagement it can create with the reader.
If the editor likes it, he/she will certainly be willing to read the first two chapters of the Manuscript to know the hook of the book. (A hook is an element of writing that makes the reader curious to read more). Also, the editor checks the quality of writing and judges an author by how and what he/she writes. Thereafter, they read the last chapter of the book to know the ending and the message that it entails for the reader. These three chapters are the crucial chapters that decide whether the book is worth investing in or not.
Writing is not just about joining a bunch of words to make a sentence. It’s all about transferring the exact thoughts from the author to a reader through a precise selection of words. Now, here comes the style of writing and the knowledge of grammar. If someone is going to invest in a book, he/she will note even the tiniest details of your work.
Before approaching a publisher, the author must check the previously published books and the category they generally publish. If a particular publisher publishes only a specific book category, do not send the books of different categories in the hope of publishing them. They will skip such a book right away. There is a valid reason behind this, and that is marketing. They don’t know the audience and ways to market a book belonging to a different category.
The author should know the elements of writing a good synopsis. It plays a vital role in the selection of a book worth investing in. There are a number of blogs available online that explain the process and important elements in detail. You can look for it.
Publishers also check the content of a book. If the book is fiction, there must be a lot of entertainment in it. If the book is non-fiction, there must be a lot of knowledge so that readers can benefit themselves. Like, if a book belongs to a self-help category, there must be a practical solution to human issues.
You must understand these points so that you can approach the publishers in a precise manner. After all, they are the investors in your business, and they want a maximum return out of it. So you have to be a little practical here.
How To Write A Mail To A Book Publisher
We have learned a lot of things to understand the mindset of authors as well as publishers so far, from understanding the type of publication companies to the practical research that an author has to perform before writing a book. These are all the basic concepts, and each author must learn and understand them from all aspects.
After doing and understanding everything, here comes the important part where most of the authors confront a challenge. This part is known as writing an email to the editor or the publisher and grabbing a book deal. You might be thinking that only an email cannot get a publishing contract but let me tell you that it will act as a stepping stone of your publishing contract journey.
Writing an email to a publisher or editor is entirely dissimilar to writing an ordinary mail to anyone else. Since you are trying to sell so, it must be a sales pitch rather than a normal email. There is a thumb rule in marketing that “Don’t try to sell a product, try to sell the benefits and emotions they will get after purchasing a product.” You need to think like a publisher and ask yourself why you should invest in a book like yours (in terms of generating revenue) before writing an email. When you are ready with the answers, you must start writing an email pitch, but before this, understand the below mentioned crucial points:
- Make a list of publishers who publish books of the same genre that your book belongs to. Also, you need to check how frequently they release a new book and the marketing they perform for each book. The more they invest in a book, the more likely it is to work only for quality. If they are working on publishing a number of books, then it is quite evident that they probably are only working to increase the publishing numbers. So, make your goal clear.
- After shortlisting the publishers, you need to find the official and personal mail of the respective person (owner of the publishing house or editors). You need to be sure that you have simply contacted a publisher and not spam them with emails.
- The subject of an email is the first thing that catches the attention of any reader. It is the only element that determines whether the reader is going to open it or not. So, write something that compels them to open it.
- Now, here comes the content of the mail. You should start your mail by inserting a hook in it so that the publisher/editor engages with the content and reads it in its entirety.
- You should not start an email by writing about yourself if you are a new author because no one is interested, little harsh yet true facts. Start the mail with a hook and then write the remaining content.
- Send the emails on a working day and after lunch.
You can use the below email format to approach the publishers.
Book story Introduction Paragraph with a hook
Author introduction paragraph
A brief about the story
Brief about USP (Unique Selling Point)
Why are readers going to read it?
Why should the publisher publish it?
Conclusion of the mail along with feedback from the publisher (what are your thoughts? Do you want to continue or read the synopsis)
Email Template 1: In this template, I am pretending to be David J. Schwartz, the author of “The Magic of Thinking Big”.
Subject: A Book Deal Capable to Sell Millions of Copies
Have you ever felt deprived of confidence or surrounded by depressing thoughts? Has it ever happened that thoughts of failure overtake your mind, and you just want to give everything up?
Probably, it’s a yes because we all go through a miserable phase in our lives that exposes our weaknesses and downfalls and makes us uncertain about the future. You, I and every human that has a breath go through this phase. So, what do we do about it? Do we stay stuck in that dark realm or muster up enough courage to pull ourselves out of it?
This book is the true manifestation of what we go through during that hardship and what kind of steps must be taken to become a confident individual who believes and achieves.
My name is David J. Schwartz, a professor of Georgia State University who is really much interested in understanding human behaviour. Behaviour is a kind of habit that works automatically in our subconscious mind. While reading people, I found that if a person can change their pattern of thoughts and habits, that person can achieve anything realistic in life. In this book, I tried to explain everything that helped me and many others to win in life.
The book is a compilation of life hacks that will help almost anyone to become happy and financially sound. Isn’t that something all the individuals alive today are working for? But why is there so much hassle and chaos if they are doing the right thing? The fact is that they are NOT. The key to success is not an average 9 to 5 job that is done out of obligation but lies in achieving financial freedom with a positive attitude. This book will tell you “HOW”!!
Amid a bunch of other self-help books, this book has a specialty that none have been able to replicate yet. It contains practical exercises and daily routine activities that have to be incorporated to witness convincing results. Most books available today on the same genre don’t address that except making it all a lot more confusing. It is highly practical and easy-to-understand steps that will make you address the world through a whole new lens.
This book should be published so that people can have the key to their success that they have been searching for all these years with almost no success. Had there been any form of success, then the rate of depression and suicides would have dipped significantly.
I would like to know what you think about the book, and your honest opinions will be highly appreciated. Let me know if you will be willing to publish this book; I will be glad to send you a precise synopsis of it if you find it interesting enough.
Mail 2 (a): Publisher asking for a synopsis
Thank them for their time and concern.
Pretend like some publishers are also interested, that means the book has something special. If this is for real, share some screenshots of the mail.
Conclusion and ask them if they are interested in reading the Manuscript.
Email Template 2:
Subject: Your Wise Decision can Help Millions of People
Thank you for taking the time to read the information mentioned in the previous mail. I appreciate the time and efforts you are making for a new author. I am fortunate enough to have a few publishers asking for the synopsis of my Manuscript. Maybe, you all are finding the book good to publish.
The central idea of the book is to uplift people that are currently struggling to make it big in their lives. Starting from a brief introduction about the daily problems that are encountered by people in their daily lives, the book explores deep into solving such problems.
People are going through financial crises or marriage problems, or depressing mental health; this book is a great antidote for all such problems. Our society is suffering, and there are a lot of people that need help but don’t have any access to it. This book is a complete guide to living a confident life, and it carries the massive potential to turn anyone’s life around.
I am attaching the synopsis of “The Magic of Thinking Big” with this mail. Hope you find it appropriate as per your publishing standard.
I’d be glad to know your feedback. Looking forward to a prompt response.
Mail 2 (b) Follow up mail if the publisher didn’t reply
Be polite and write like you know the publisher has a lot of work to do but can spend like 5 minutes to read the synopsis.
Explains USP again here
Conclusion and ask for feedback
If the publisher didn’t reply within a week, repeat the process again with the personal mail ID.
Email Template 3:
Subject: A Book Deal Difficult to Resist
Life gets so busy sometimes that we tend to miss out on the most important things. These things carry the potential to turn our lives around, but we forget to consider them and lose the only opportunity.
Let me introduce myself. I am David and sent you a mail regarding a book deal a week ago. I understand that you must be extremely busy sometimes, but this book is what you need to make sure gets into peoples’ hands. This has the potential to eliminate 90% of the problems that humans face almost on a daily basis. I would appreciate it if you took a little time out of your busy schedule to read the previous mail, and you will know what I am talking about exactly.
This book is special from all aspects of a self-help book and carries valuable, practical lessons to help anyone get back up on their feet after a debilitating failure. You can try out the principles mentioned in the book yourself to know that I am not bluffing. Self-help books don’t give us practical examples to actually get up and follow the steps to success. Well, guess what? This book DOES that right from the beginning.
Let me know your views on this book. If you are interested in reading the synopsis, just reply to the same mail, and I will share the synopsis. It carries the unprecedented potential to become a massive success right after it hits the bookshelves.
Mail 3: When publisher ask for Manuscript
Check the guidelines of the publishing house before sending the whole Manuscript. Most of the good publishers ask for a few chapters only rather than asking for the complete book.
I highly appreciate that you took the time out of your busy schedule to read the synopsis. I can see that you invest your time in books worthy of attention. It is just a matter of time when you, as a publisher and I, as a writer, will help millions to view their life from a whole new perspective.
PFA the Manuscript and let me know the changes that you think it requires before it reaches out in the public domain. This Manuscript contains the first two chapters and the concluding chapter that will give you ample evidence of its uniqueness.
I hope you like it enough to transform it into a successful book because I know it has the weight to touch peoples’ hearts as it did yours.
When you get the publishing contract from more than one publisher, compare them and choose the best of them. Before selection, check their track record of book publishing and the number of bestseller books published by them.
In case you didn’t get a single deal from any of the publishers, you need to refine your publishing pitch and send it to other publishers. After all, rejection is temporary, but success is permanent. So, don’t lose hope.
Also, you can try other publishing paths to publish your book.
The sole purpose of this mail is to give you an authentic ground report of authors as well as of the publishers in the country. Furthermore, I would also recommend you to not just read this guide but to understand and absorb the context fully.
This guide is the key that not only gives you a semblance of hope but also carries immense potential to keep you on the right track. Such authentic and transparent pieces of information are not easily available as everyone looks for quantity, not quality. Being an author and publisher myself, I think I am not the perfect person but at least the right guy to tell you this. I know you have the potential to realise your dreams, so make it worthwhile because millions like you are always ready to take your place.
Writing a story, mail, or anything is relatively easier as opposed to convincing someone. Even it would be difficult to convenience a kid for any task. Try to understand the needs and requirements of the publisher before you sit down to write an email. Believe me; it would make your task just a little easier to execute and quite convenient as well. I can tell you this because I myself am an author and a publisher who has been in this business for quite some time now. So, write an exciting story and be a bestseller. And, don’t forget to read this aloud;
“I am going to be a successful author and trust every part of me.”