Walking 2 paths to discover the right choice

Image courtesy of canstockphoto.com/Marcopolo

Image courtesy of canstockphoto.com/Marcopolo

Moving on from my first book rejection, I have decided to walk 2 separate paths. I am taking steps towards finding a traditional publisher AND I am taking steps towards self publishing my book. I wish I could say that one path or the other definitively felt right to me but neither does. So, I’m hoping if I start walking the paths of both, something will fall into place that will make one of them stand out.

Walking down the traditional publisher path

Despite having been told that traditional publishers do not take unsolicited manuscripts, I have since discovered that that is not entirely true. Yes, the bigger publishers only take manuscripts submitted by literary agents but there are many smaller publishing houses that accept unsolicited manuscripts (i.e. a book that an editor did not specifically ask to see).

To find these publishers I am poring through the “2015 Writer’s Market” book. This book contains thousands of publishing opportunities for writers, including listings of book publishers, consumer and trade magazines, contests and awards, and literary agents. The key is to find a publisher who takes unsolicited manuscripts whose interests match what you have to offer.

Each publisher has general guidelines about what is required when submitting your book proposal and those guidelines must be followed to the letter if you want to be considered.

A query letter is critical to getting your foot in the door and enticing the editor to open your proposal. When writing the query letter, I found striking similarities to writing a cover letter for a resume you would submit to a company.

Query Letter Cover Letter
Describe the characteristics of your book that would be appealing to the publisher. Describe the skills you possess that would be appealing to the company.
How does your book compare to similar titles and what makes your book stand out? How do you compare to other job applicants and what makes you stand out?
How is your book an ideal fit for the types of books this publisher wants to publish? How are you the ideal fit for the job the company wishes to fill?

Other similarities between the two

  • You want to research the company/publisher to show your interest and show that you are willing to go the extra mile.
  • There is a likelihood that after you submit your inquiry, you will never hear back from the company/publisher. Only if there is interest will you get a response.

Huh, just when I thought I was getting away from job searches! 🙂 Fortunately, over the years, I had become pretty good at writing cover letters. So putting together a query letter wasn’t too difficult.

I know that it is highly likely that I could get hundreds of rejections before getting a single acceptance. However, since many publishing houses accept electronic submissions, it seems like a no-brainer to send them out and hope for the best.

Walking down the self publishing path

In order to think about self publishing my story, I first need to find an illustrator whose skills would be a good match for Journey to Jobville. Again, the book will be in picture book format and is written as a rhyming parable. Since its topic is for an adult audience, I need to have illustrations that are sophisticated and appealing to adults.

I believe I mentioned that I had met an illustrator when I attended the SCBWI event. I made contact with her and we met last weekend. I read her my story, and she was interested in potentially doing the illustrations for it. So, we agreed that she would draw the main character as a sample to see if her style would match what I am looking for. I’ll keep you posted.

Moving forward

Regardless of the path I eventually traverse I did decide that I should copyright my book. This turned out to be surprisingly easy. I was able to submit my manuscript online at copyright.gov and paid a $35 fee. Done!

As you can see, I am continuing to take baby steps towards my goal of having a published book. I’m still not entirely sure which path I will be taking to accomplish this feat, but I continue to learn and grow with this process. So I figure it’s all good!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “Walking 2 paths to discover the right choice

  1. Going down both paths sounds like a good idea! More work but better odds. And constantly learning is always a good thing. Good luck!