Advice on getting a book published

Any Dopers out there ever submitted a book to a publisher?

I have a collection of my own short stories that I have always wanted to get published. Sort of a Steve Martin “Cruel Shoes” type book. I have two artist friends in mind to draw pictures for the stories.

I figure I have nothing to lose by trying. Any advice? What to do, what not to do, what to expect, suggestions on different publishers?

Go to and read, read, and read.

I don’t want to read I want to write! :smiley:
Thank you! Lots of great stuff there.

Submit to agents first. If you have a fovarite author, sometimes they are willing to read a manuscript for comment and even recommend it to an agent but make certain you ask them first. Do not just send a copy of your manuscript.

If it is a collection of stories that you want to place, though, your best bet will be to strart submitting the individual stories to magazines or oriinial anthologies. A story collection from an entirely unknown author has little chance of being published.

Blind submissions to publishers do have a non-zero chance of succeeding, but the chances are better (not good, better) with a blind submission to an agent.

It actually helps if you are employed in a publishing company. Or better, if you own one… :smiley:

Don’t pay anyone to publish your book for you. Real publishers make money out of book sales, not by charging fees to authors. “Vanity publishing” is a good way to wind up with a pile of unsold, unsaleable, and in extreme cases unfinished, books.

If you do it, share your good-luck story!

A book called Writer’s Market has information about most reputable publishers (how to contact them, whether they accept first-time authors, how many books they publish, and of what type.)

It also has information on Agents and lots of other stuff.

Best of luck to you.

I tried submitting my stuff to agents. No agent would touch it. So I went to the Writer’s Digest book on markets, researched things, found a publisher who leaned toward publishing books of my type by previously unpublished authors, and submitted a Book Proposal. It worked – they published my book.
My advice – make up a good, professional-looking Proposal to send to either publishers or agents. In addition to telling about your book, giving your credentials, ans provifing a ample of your writing, it should convince the publisher why they’d want to publish your book – who is the intended audience? How big a market is there for your book?

After getting a book published, and being an editor as well, I fuigured it would be easy to get an agent for my next project. No such luck. I still can;t get an agent to look at my stuff. Perseverance.

Multi-million seller Matthew Reilly may disagree with you.

Just because you can make $10 million playing the lottery doesn’t mean it’s the best way to go about it. Someone always defies the odds.

To continue the “don’t pay to publish” bit, don’t go with PublishAmerica either. I won’t rehash all the reasons; there’s a 23,000+ post thread on Absolute Write explaining all about why it’s bad.

Note the “world’s worst novel” link in my sig for further information.

Remember Yog’s law: Money flows toward the writer. Anyone asking you for payment to get published is out to rip you off.

Short story collections are very hard to sell; it’d be better to try to sell them individually.

I read that article on Matthew Reilly and it doesn’t support don’t ask’s case at all.

His first novel was self-published, not given to a vanity press. There’s a world of difference between the two.

And it sold only a few copies, which he peddled one-by-one to Sydney bookstores. An editor found it and gave him a contract. It was his second book that sold big.

This is more of a testimonial to traditional commercial publishing than to alternatives.

Unfortunately, a book of short comic pieces by an unknown writer is about as commercially unpublishable as a love story starring Osama and Saddam. Trying to sell the pieces individually is a good idea and that may interest a small, specialized publisher.

If the OP really wants them together as a book, self-publishing is the way to explore.

I hadn’t checked his site because I am no fan of Reilly and no wonder, his own story is poorly told there. The real story is much slicker. It is told far better by Writer’s World It is quite some achievement to get your self-published book in the front window display of the biggest book store chain in the country.

Hot damn, you are 1/20th of Travis Tea? I’m impressed!