You might be considering which path to publication is best for you, and we have the perfect blog to help you find out more about traditional and self-publishing. If you choose to traditionally publish, you will need to have a literary agent who will approach publishers on your behalf and get a publishing contract.
So, how do you get a literary agent? You will usually need to submit a sample of your manuscript, a query letter, and a synopsis to your chosen literary agents, but don’t forget to edit your book—this blog will help with that. Make sure your work is polished—no typos, follow formatting guidelines (each agency has its own guidelines, and you can find them on their site), and personalise your query letters to agents—but if you want extra help, remember Jericho Writers offer a submission pack review (and Premium Members get one free query letter review each year). We also offer agent 1-2-1s—a perfect opportunity to get personal feedback on your submission pack from a literary agent of your choice.
Not sure which agents to query? Check out AgentMatch. Our matchmaking tool can help you find the right agent for your novel.
If you get an agent, they will revise your manuscript with you and pitch your work to publishers (remember, this is why you must pick your agent carefully). Fingers crossed and a lot of patience later, a publisher might option your work. If you get to this stage, congratulations! Make sure you celebrate every achievement because there are a few more steps before a hard copy of your novel is in your hands.
So, you have your agent and a publishing deal. What happens next?
The First Three to Six Months
Before your book can enter production, publication dates must be discussed. Will your book be a winter, summer, or autumn release? This depends on where the editorial team can fit you into the publication schedule. Even if you deliver your book in plenty of time for a winter release, you must settle for another season if the list is already full.
Six to Nine Months
Author biography, book content description, and title. The marketing team want it all! They must start planning, including pitching your book to the art team. We say we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case, you want the perfect jacket design for your book.
Also, prepare to receive your first fact sheet from an editor, with all the information the sales team need to know to pitch your book to sellers.
Nine Months Later… We’re Halfway There!
You have sent your manuscript to an editor. Now, how patient are you? Writing a book takes a lot of patience, but sending your work to an editor may require a different type of patience. Editors are busy, swimming in manuscripts that demand their attention, so be kind and patient. They are doing their best. In the meantime, other departments in the publishing house may grab a read of your unedited manuscript.
Are you ready for editorial feedback? It focuses on the big picture of your manuscript and improving areas such as structure, plot, form, and character, whether that be through a developmental edit, or a line-by-line edit. Still, it’s your time to shine. Finish your revisions and send them back, ready to repeat the process until your editor approves.
Did I hear the words cover design? And jacket copy? Of course! It is all ready for you to review and approve.
Eleven to Twelve Months
To me, to you! The editorial team will hand your book over to the production editorial team. You will receive a copy edit of your book (a marked-up manuscript for you to review). Accept or reject their suggestions, add or delete information—the choice is yours. However, no significant changes can be made once the copy edits are returned.
Also, how are your interior design skills? Sample page layouts will be sent for your approval.
Twelve Months (Happy Book Deal Anniversary!)
I’m afraid there’s no magic wand for getting your book on shelves but don’t fret because that’s what the sales team are there for. They will meet with buyers each season and use their talents (along with your book’s merit) to attract orders for your book.
How does a podcast interview sound? Book bloggers? PR wants to pitch your book, and they will need your help. Building your author brand is hard work and will rely on you reaching out, so don’t be afraid to define yourself, present yourself, and stand out. Practice your best smile. Chin up, shoulders back, back straight. Let’s go!
Twelve to Fourteen Months (Not Long to go Now)
Edits? Done. Complete. Finished. Typesetting? Yes, please! We’re talking about perfect margins, envious layouts, and page formatting that will make your heart smile. Copies of your typesetting will be sent to both you and proofreaders. While you sit back and read, your proofreader will comb through every page to check for typos or other errors. This may happen a few times before printing, but don’t worry; the goal is to perfect your book in every form, so be patient and trust the process.
The proofer has given your book a thumbs up. Are you happy? Yes! Are you sure? There’s no going back to make adjustments after this stage.
Now, the exciting bit…
Are you ready for other people to read your work? Cover endorsements are in progress, and fingers crossed, the reviews are gloriously shining. Your opinion matters too—get ready to approve your book’s cover proofs (the front, back, and spine).
Your files are on the way to the printer, which can only mean one thing… Not long to wait until you can hold a copy of your book.
Are you ready to see an early copy? Picture it now. Your long-awaited dreams of holding an author copy of your book in your home are now a reality. Feel the weight, smell those fresh pages, and smile, knowing it’s all yours.
Publication Day, Yay!
Congratulations! You should be proud of your patience, hard work and persistence. Go and celebrate!
What are your plans for when you have finished your book? Let us know in the comments! Remember, every publishing timeline is different. Your contract, publisher, and book deal will influence the speed of your journey. For example, a digital deal will probably have a faster timeline, and a two-book deal may mean your publisher wants to release your second book quickly. Every journey is unique. The unknown may seem daunting, but see the endless opportunities and know you are enough. We are always here to help you navigate the publishing maze with our upcoming events.