What do you do now that you have finished that great manuscript? Many believe you can simply start sending it out to agents or publishers sometimes even both. However this is simply not true, just because you have created this riveting tale, you cannot send it out and expect it to be published right then. No, there are many aspects to being published and even more frauds out there, where the only goal is to con you out of your money. Filling their pockets and leaving yours empty and your dream of being published unfulfilled.
So what to do, where to turn, who do you trust, who do you ask? Well the first thing is take that perfect manuscript and reread each and every word and prepare to rewrite, if you are like many authors out there who have a hard time seeing their own mistakes then join a critique group. These groups are designed to help writers, and many have guidelines to follow so that your critique is accurate and fair. Once you have joined the group, redone your mistakes, repeatedly, finally believing you have the best Manuscript possible, here comes the hard part. Getting someone else to believe it as well.
You have to come up with a query letter that holds the readers attention using a strong hook. A hook if you don’t know is that one scene, that one line, that grabs the readers attention making them want more, need more of what you have to say. Once you have that Query here comes the synopsis, a synopsis is summary of your story highlighting plot twist and turns along with giving, a detail setting your story takes place in, generally about two to three pages in length. A word of advice when you write your synopsis, know the ending even if not exact, at least how it will end. Publishers and Agents do not want to be still guessing at the end.
Ok you have your Query, your Synopsis, your sample Chapters leading into the story, now what? Did you make sure everything is formatted properly; this makes a huge difference on acceptance to being read or thrown away before they look at the first line? So everything is properly formatted, you have researched the agents and publishers, you know who you are going to send out to, but there is one major problem who first?
Well that depends on your list, first off if you want an agent then they are the first ones to contact. A good agent will walk you through the process from, professional editing to submitting to the publisher. Agents will have Publishers they want to send to first, but you can suggest your own as well. A good agent will not charge you; they make money off getting that contract with the publisher. A good agent will keep you informed at all changes, but most importantly, a good agent will be looking out for you.
Now that we know what an Agent does maybe, you are like hundreds of other authors and do not want an agent. Well that is ok too; many go straight to the publisher. Whether you self publish or have a publisher, you need to follow the company’s guidelines and rules. Also, remember that unless you are self-publishing then the Publisher pays you not the other way around. A publisher should also have a list of events and ideas they want to use to promote the book.
No matter what way you choose to move that manuscript into a novel be sure to check out each publisher, editor, and agent on your list. Make sure they are legit, that they do not have any hidden fees, and any questions you have are answered completely before you sign that dotted line. Remember you are in charge, it is your work, and you have a responsibility to yourself, your readers, and your publisher or agent, just because the hard parts are done, do not stop. Send it out for reviews, ask local books stores to carry it, promote, promote, promote.
By Dee Owens