You’ve finished writing your book. Now you want to send it to an agent or a publisher. Take a deep breath first, and answer these questions:
WHO HAS READ IT? You need to show it to a few qualified people for feedback – not your spouse, nor your family… the most opinionated person in your book/writing group might be the best person to ask to read it.
CAN YOU HANDLE REJECTION? Most new books are rejected once or maybe several times. It happens to the best of us – prepare yourself.
RESEARCH: Do the groundwork. Read agent’s and publisher’s websites. You can learn a lot about what they are actually looking for, and what not to send them.
ATTEND WORKSHOPS & LITERARY FESTIVALS: Some have one-to-one sessions with agents and publishers that are very valuable contacts.
CREATE A LONGLIST: Keep an ongoing list of publishers whom you think might want your book. Sort into priority order & work your way down when submitting.
PERSONALISE: Think about what you want to say to each one. It needs to be different each time, you are not sending out a circular. If you don’t have several reasons for sending to that person, then they should not be on your list.
COVER LETTER: Today it’s an e-mail. 2 paragraphs in this that tells the recipient what the book is about. A synopsis – a one-page summary of the book and the plot. Sample chapters – 2 or 3 from the start of the book. A bit about you – basic & relevant information – your expertise for writing on a particular subject; any prior writing successes etc. Don’t make outrageous claims (like it will sell as well as Harry Potter!). Don’t ramble on – be brief, polite and personal.
OK – YOU’RE READY: Don’t expect an instant answer. Wait 2 months and if you haven’t heard, you can send a polite e-mail asking if they are interested. No answer, move to the second choice on your list.
GOOD LUCK! If I can help you in any way, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll be rooting for you.