Getting a Book Published: Why It’s Like Going to the Doctor

Getting a book published shouldn’t be like going to the doctors, but it is. You know how it is; something doesn’t seem right so you go to the doctor and part of you thinks, “I’ll ask him (or her) what’s wrong and then I’ll know.” But of course that isn’t what happens. The doctor isn’t sure. So you get sent for tests. “When I get the test results I’ll know…” Except the test results are inconclusive, or else they point to something that there isn’t really anything they can give you. And so it goes on. There I was thinking there would be a “we love your book” moment from a publisher and a big party, but it hasn’t worked out that way. Instead I got a very nice email saying that a publisher would like to discuss my book with me. Don’t get me wrong, this is GREAT NEWS, […]

Getting a Book Published: The Ultimate Submission Letter

OK, I’ve used a little hyperbole in the title of this blog, I’ll admit.  There is no perfect submission letter because each submission you send is going in front of a different pair of eyes. But I think there are some very important points to consider and at the end I’ll tell you my own idea of what might help tip the balance when you send your dream off to a publisher. Firstly, and most importantly, check whether the publisher you are writing to has a preference for what a submission contains.  Many of them do.  Of course, you don’t have to follow it slavishly, but you need to work within their parameters and find a way to stand out without appearing to have ignored their wishes.  When you get published you’ll be working with your publisher and demonstrating you can’t pay attention to their needs isn’t a recipe for […]

Getting a Book Published: Friends in a Hostile Environment

Make no mistake, getting a book published is tough.  Some of that is for the right reasons; after all there are a zillion people who would like the idea of having a book published and there isn’t a market for that many books – it’s no bad thing that the publishers and literary agents of this world act as something of a buffer between all the prospective junk and the ones that make it into print.  And, of course, lots of those won’t sell particularly well. But some of the reasons getting your book published is tough aren’t good ones. One publisher that I sent my book to took twelve weeks to reply (and only then after I had called to enquire about its progress, which is something they say you shouldn’t do). In fact, I would agree that you shouldn’t do it.  I happen to know that the rejection […]

Getting a Book Published: Why Your Book Is Rubbish

Forgive the provocative title, I’m sure your book is wonderful, but I’m guessing that the self-doubt the writing process is riddled with isn’t something only I have experienced! In fact, Francis, my ‘fairy book father’ (I really must find a better way of describing him) reassures me that self-doubt is pretty much inevitable. The process of writing is, for the most part, a solitary pursuit.  Every now and then some clever soul conspires a way of writing that involves other people; co-writing, basing a book on interviews or… well there must be a third way that escapes me now (and writing being what it is, there’s no one here to ask).  Even these people will be faced with a fair amount of editing or compiling that is shared only with the computer keyboard. And it’s hard to sustain that initial resolve that you have something to say 100% of the time.  […]