How to Get a Book Published

Close up of open book on counter
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Authors might think they do the heavy lifting by writing the book, but publishing a book is just as labor-intensive endeavor — for all involved. Here's an overview of publishing — from proposal through the publication.

Write the Novel or the Book Proposal

For fiction, authors produce a completed manuscript. For non-fiction, authors craft a book proposal, a sales document that outlines the author's vision for the finished book

Get a Literary Agent

If you want your book to be published by a traditional publishing house, it is much, much harder to get an editor to look at your book proposal or manuscript if you don't have an agent.

Sign the Book Contract

A book contract is a legally-binding agreement between an author and his or her book publisher. From the physical book to the financial agreement, the book contract outlines the obligations and the rights of each party in the agreement.

Know That Many Hands Will Now Be Touching Your Book

Wondering how a book gets from writer to reader? If you're an author being published by one of the major book publishers, then you’ll be happy to know there is a whole team of people involved in helping to "set up" your book for publication.

Familiarize Yourself With the Editorial Department

The content of published books — from acquisition to final printed pages — is the responsibility of the editorial department.

Work on Your Manuscript Through the Editorial Process

The editorial process is the first stage in seeing a manuscript become a finished book. The editor helps shape the content and as he or she and the author work together to arrive at an agreed-upon final manuscript.

See Your Manuscript Through the Production Process

The ​book production department is responsible for the design, layout, printing, and e-book coding of the finished book or both. The book production process officially starts when the "final" manuscript goes to the copyeditor, who job falls under the production department.

Know That a Team of People Is Working Your Book's Packaging

Sometimes even consulting you! Chances are, you'll be working with your editor to fine-tune the title that you started with to maximize reader appeal. Also, in a traditional publishing house, the book jacket design process happens in tandem with much of the editorial and production processes of the book and starts months—even a year or more—in advance of publication.

Know That the Marketing, Publicity, and Sales Departments Are Strategizing

...about how to get your book in bookstores (like Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and independent booksellers) and in front of the media and the consumer.

Enjoy Seeing the Finished Book!

The copies land in the bookstores and in your hands. But if you think you're done, you're wrong — now the marketing and publicity outreach plans kick into high gear!