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How do you get a publisher to look at your book?

I would love to become a published author (think fiction novels), but I do not know what is the right way to get a company to look at my work without hiring an agent. Is the key in your cover letter? If so, how do you write one? Thanks!
#writer #books #english-literature #writing

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Rebecca’s Answer

To pitch a book you must write a query. It's a short synopsis to pitch your book and get their attention. I would recommend looking at samples online. Query letters typically have a hook, synopsis, title and length of book, book genre, and a short bio on yourself.

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Steve’s Answer

Anna, writers don't hire agents in the sense of paying them a salary. The agents get a percentage of the writer's publication earnings. If anyone tries to charge you to be your agent, you should avoid that person. A good agent can be very helpful because they have personal relationships with book acquisition editors and have inside knowledge of publishing companies.

One traditional way to get the attention of book editors and agents is to publish short stories and novel excerpts in magazines and literary journals. This helps you demonstrate that there's an audience for your work, and publishers are more likely to pay attention to writers who are already vetted by editors. There are all sorts of new ways to get attention through social media, and unfortunately I'm too old to advise you on those (besides, they change every minute). But I think the principle with social media and publishing in journals is the same: if you show book editors that you've already developed an audience for your work, they'll take you more seriously.

One addition to the great advice given by others here: in addition to a cover letter and synopsis, publishers want you to provide "comps," in which you identify books you think are similar to yours and describe the kind of readers who are likely to buy your book. It can be frustrating to write a comp; perhaps you think your book is totally unique. But this exercise can be valuable because it forces you to think about the publishing market and where you fit into it.
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Steve’s Answer

Anna, writers don't hire agents in the sense of paying them a salary. The agents get a percentage of the writer's publication earnings. If anyone tries to charge you to be your agent, you should avoid that person. A good agent can be very helpful because they have personal relationships with book acquisition editors and have inside knowledge of publishing companies.

One traditional way to get the attention of book editors and agents is to publish short stories and novel excerpts in magazines and literary journals. This helps you demonstrate that there's an audience for your work, and publishers are more likely to pay attention to writers who are already vetted by editors. There are all sorts of new ways to get attention through social media, and unfortunately I'm too old to advise you on those (besides, they change every minute). But I think the principle with social media and publishing in journals is the same: if you show book editors that you've already developed an audience for your work, they'll take you more seriously.

One addition to the great advice given by others here: in addition to a cover letter and synopsis, publishers want you to provide "comps," in which you identify books you think are similar to yours and describe the kind of readers who are likely to buy your book. It can be frustrating to write a comp; perhaps you think your book is totally unique. But this exercise can be valuable because it forces you to think about the publishing market and where you fit into it.
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Simeon’s Answer

Find a good editor that you trust. Having professional eyes look over your work is worth every penny you can get. Be careful about posting your work online as you don't know who might try to repurpose it as their own work. Get the first edition of your work completed as quickly as possible and work on being a ruthless editor of your own work. If this is your first book, you might need to develop an online audience on YouTube, social media, or with a blog to prove to potential publishers that there is a market for your book. If you end up not being able to line up a publisher, you can use Amazon.com to self-publish. Amazon offers the service of being able to print off your book one copy at a time, so you don't have to worry about printing them off in batches.
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Lucy’s Answer

I've not done this, but will forward to someone I know who has published books.

Lucy recommends the following next steps:

Await my reply.or reply.from published author to whom I'm forwarding.
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