If you’re not involved in the process of publishing a book, whether that be from the side of the author or the side of the publishing industry, it can be hard to wrap your mind around it. It’s easy enough to assume that a book is written and then published. However, there are a few more steps in the journey than that.
- First, a writer writes the book. This will go through several edits, several readings by friends, maybe even some rewrites. And by the end of all this, there will be a book that the writer is proud of and wants to send out to publishing houses.
- There are two things the writer can do at this point – they can either secure a literary agent (see this blog post for what a literary agent is) or they can choose to send their book to a publishing house. All the larger publishing houses (such as Penguin RandomHouse, Hachette, Bloomsbury, Simon & Schuster, and others) are closed to unsolicited submissions. This means that they will not look at book submissions that don’t come from agents. Smaller publishing houses, such as Trigger Press, do open themselves up to submissions from the authors themselves (these are called unsolicited submissions).
- Once the writer has decided which route they want to take, the writer will then draw up a submissions pitch, which will usually entail writing a cover letter, a synopsis, and the first three chapters. This can vary from company to company.
- This is where the author has to wait weeks, or even months, for people to get back to them. On average, publishing houses and literary agencies can become inundated with submissions that have to be read alongside working on the books they have already acquired. This will definitely take time.
- If the book is acquired, the author will be issued a contract. This will detail important information, such as the percentage of royalties the author will get, what the publishing house will do for the author, and other such things that need to be read and considered carefully.