You’ve finally written the next great American novel, or at least your version of it. The book you know needed to be written, the book that you know will help everyone who reads it, the book that makes a difference, the book that you wished you had had a long time ago. You’ve finally done it. Now what?
You get it published. I know, I know, easier said than done. That’s why we’re here to help! We’ve compiled a list of five things we think you should know about getting your work published.
1. You have to know your book.
First off, what kind of work are you trying to get published? Is it a poetry collection, a children’s book, a mystery novel, a self-help book, or something entirely different? Your job is to do research to find the best home for your work, where it can coexist alongside titles that bolster it instead of holding it back.
Every publishing company has a different mission and they publish different things according to that mission. Night Heron Media is no exception. We publish work in, around, and about Texas. If your book falls in that category, then perhaps we are a good fit! Publishing houses are always searching for work that works with them, and likewise you should be searching for a publishing house that works with you.
2. There are different avenues.
Publishing is a beast with many arms and legs, and there’s no one right type or one right way to get your book published. It all depends on your work and your goals for that work. However, there are two main types. Trade publishing, which is traditional book-for-sale publishing, and private publishing, which is publishing for your personal use and self-distribution. There is also self-publishing, where you act as the publisher of your own work, and traditional publishing, which involves book deals and the ownership of your work by a company.
3. Know your rights.
Speaking of ownership, rights are a tricky and complicated business. There are plenty of lawyers whose careers are dedicated to intellectual property law. The basics, though, are that there are different types of rights, the main ones of which are All Rights, Electronic Rights, Exclusive Rights, First North American Serial Rights, First Serial Rights, Reprint Rights, Subsidiary Rights, and Worldwide Rights. Before you sign any contract with a publisher, make sure you know which of these rights you are granting, and what that means for the future of your work.
4. You don't have to be perfect, but you have to try.
Are you worried that you have one too many commas, or that maybe you didn’t use that colon exactly right? Publishers are more concerned with the content of the work than your encyclopedic knowledge of grammar rules because, regardless, your work will go through a team of editors before it ever goes into print. However, you still need to do your due diligence. Read through your work, have someone else look it over, and run it through spell check. Do your best to avoid errors that would be distracting to a reader, but don’t hold back from submitting just because you can’t quite articulate the difference between an m-dash and a hyphen.
5. You can’t just send out copies of your book.
Unfortunately, just sending out copies of your manuscript to any and all publishing companies is not a surefire way to make sure your book sees the light of day. For one, you have to make sure whichever company you are looking at is accepting manuscripts during the time you’re ready to submit. Even if they are accepting manuscripts, you still can’t just send your manuscript to stand alone. Due to time and resource constraints, you will probably not even be able to send the entire thing. Most companies require that you send, at the very least, a cover letter and a couple sample chapters. For some, you may need to add on to that a synopsis of the project,your target audience, and any market research you’ve done.
We hope this list helped you on your publishing journey! If you think Night Heron Media might be the right fit for you, head over to our “Submitting Work” page for more information!