How to Pitch Your Book Idea to Publishers

01 May


WritersIf you really don’t want to self-publish, learn how to pitch your book idea to major, traditional publishing houses.

Be aware, that marketing is up to you and you better start long before the book’s launch. Once your book is in stores, it has only weeks “to make it”.

Publishers don’t want to hear only about your book idea, but also how you are going to market and promote it.

After all, they are in the business to make money with your work.




Let your potential publisher know how you plan to get your author name out there.

  • Will you do book signings, contests, chats, online signings, book club readings or placement into independent bookstores.
  • Do you have a website? And / or a blog?
  • Do you participate in Twitter, Google+, Goodreads and Facebook?
  • Do you have any special groups, such as book clubs, reading groups etc. that you know, and who would be interested in this type of book?

This is called a promotional plan and a platform and more and more publishers require it. But in any way, it is always an asset. There are also a number of things that you should not do when submitting a manuscript:

  • Never send a manuscript without a query letter or synopsis. Publishers like to get an idea of what the story is about before plunging into a novel.
  • Make sure that the publishers guidelines are followed to the letter.
  • If the publisher specifies that all submissions should be double spaced in Times or New Roman font, save it as an RTF file. Do not send something that is single spaced in a gothic font, saved as a PDF.
  • Do not tell the publisher how wonderful your work is, or how much you think he or she will enjoy it. Stick strictly to the facts.
  • Do not write the publisher over and over again asking if they have yet read your manuscript.  Most publishers will list an average response time. Only after that time has passed should you contact the publisher for an update.
  • Make sure that your document is appropriately labelled with your name, pen name, title of the book, word count and your email address. When manuscripts are sent by email, your document is often saved in another location. This manuscript could quite possibly be passed to various staff within the company in order to find the line that best fits your title. If there is no identifying information on the Manuscript itself, a publisher cannot respond to you.

When you are submitting your work, remember to be professional, be kind and be patient. The publisher is working hard to review works and put out the best quality pieces to the reading  public.  As an author, it is your job to follow some simple guidelines when submitting a manuscript in order to allow the process to go smoothly and your work to be accepted.
More on this topic:



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1 Comment

Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Marketing, Publishing


Tags: , , , , , ,

One response to “How to Pitch Your Book Idea to Publishers

  1. Elliott Scott (@ElliottJScott)

    October 31, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    I’m working on my pitch right now, and this has helped me tremendously! Thank you so much!


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