From Manuscript to Bookshelf How to Submit a Book for Publishing
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From Manuscript to Bookshelf How to Submit a Book for Publishing

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  • August 30, 2023
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  • 9 min read


Writing a book is an incredible accomplishment, and the journey from manuscript to bookshelf is exciting. However, publishing your book can be daunting, especially for new authors. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps in submitting a book for publishing. From polishing your manuscript to finding the right publisher, we’ll cover everything you need to know to increase your chances of success. So, let’s explore in and learn how to bring your manuscript to the bookshelf!

Understanding the Publishing Industry

There are several different types of publishers, like American Author House, and they all have different ways of working. Some are interested in your book because they think it will sell well; some are interested in promoting their brand, and some just want to support writers. The publishing industry is split into big companies (like Penguin Random House) and small ones (like independent publishers).

You need to know what kind of publisher you’re dealing with before you submit your book for consideration. If you want to make money with your book, approach a traditional publisher who can sell copies in bookshops worldwide. However, if you want people to read and enjoy your work, consider submitting directly to an independent publisher or self-publishing company like CreateSpace or Lulu, which will print on demand cheaply.

Researching Potential Publishers

The important thing you should do when you’ve finished writing your book is to Researching potential publishers for book publishing. You may be tempted to skip this step, but don’t! It’s vital to know what you’re getting into before you submit your manuscript to a publisher.

Here are some things to consider:

What types of books does the publisher publish? Are they interested in your genre?

Does the publisher accept unsolicited submissions (from authors not represented by an agent)? How long does it take for them to respond?

What rights does the publisher require from the authors? Do they require exclusive rights or non-exclusive rights? Are there any other restrictions on what you can do with your book after publication?

How much money can you expect from a deal with this publisher?

What sort of royalties does the publisher offer for books sold through traditional channels (bookstores and online retailers)? Do they offer additional royalty rates for books sold through nontraditional channels (eBook sales) and print-on-demand (POD) editions of your work that aren’t counted as “sales” by traditional distribution channels like Amazon publisher services?

Crafting a Compelling Query Letter

Writing a query letter is a crucial step in getting the book for publishing. A query letter is a one-page document introducing you and your book to agents, editors and publishers. It’s your chance to sell yourself as an author and make them think, “I want this writer’s next book!”

Do you need to write a query letter?

The short answer is yes. If you’re looking for traditional publishing — meaning going through an agent or submitting directly to a publisher — then yes, a query letter is necessary. However, if you’re self-publishing, there are less formal ways of getting your work out there. Query letters are best suited for agents and publishers because they require some thought, solid marketing tactics and careful planning.

What’s in a good query letter?

A good query letter should contain the following:

  • A brief overview of your book’s plot/genre/theme/etc. This helps the reader immediately understand what kind of story it is without reading through an entire description or synopsis.
  • Why are you qualified to write this book? Why do they want it? Give specific reasons why this book needs to be written by you (e.g., because nobody else can write it better).

Prepare your manuscript

To submit a book for publishing, you must have a manuscript in good condition. Your manuscript should be double-spaced, with one-inch margins on all sides and at the top of each page. Page numbers rather than lines should also be paginated, and use italics instead of underlining for emphasis.

In addition to these basics, there are other things you can do to make your book more appealing to publishers:

  • Ensure your manuscript is free of typos, spelling, and grammatical errors. Many publishers will not consider manuscripts with minor editing problems; if they don’t enjoy reading your work, they won’t want to publish it.
  • Proofread your manuscript carefully before submitting it to a publisher or agent. You don’t need somebody else’s help —read it through yourself once more before submitting it to anyone else!

Submitting Your Manuscript

There are many options for submitting your manuscript to publishers. You can send an email attachment directly to the publisher or links to your website hosting the book. Some publishing houses prefer submissions via snail mail or messenger service. Others accept online submissions through their websites.

When sending your manuscript to a publisher, ensure it’s as clean as possible. Have someone else proofread it for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors before submitting it.

Understanding the Review Process

After sending in your manuscript, you should be ready for the review process, which can vary based on the publisher. At this stage, publishers or literary managers look at your work to see if it can be published.

Most reviews have more than one step, such as an initial screening, an editing review, and maybe even a peer review. At each step, your manuscript is judged on its quality, marketability, and overall fit in the publisher’s catalog.

Contract Negotiation and Signing

If a publisher says they are interested in your manuscript, they will probably offer you a contract to print it. To ensure the deal is fair and good for both sides, it is important to look over the terms carefully and, if necessary, negotiate.

If you need to, talk to a lawyer to help you understand the contract’s rules and rights. Pay close attention to the royalty rates, channels for distribution, rights for future works, and any other terms that could affect your authorship.

The Editorial and Production Process

Your manuscript will be edited and published after signing a deal with a publisher. During this stage, you will work closely with editors, proofreaders, and artists to improve your book for publishing.

Editors will review your work to ensure it makes sense, is clear, and is good overall. They might offer changes and improvements to make the book easier to read and more marketable. Work closely with the editing team because their knowledge will make a big difference in the end product.

Cover Design and Typesetting

You need a professional-looking cover and layout to get people to read your book. Work with artists to make a good cover, show what the book is about, and catch people’s attention.

Typesetting is arranging the fonts, borders, headers, and page layout on the inside pages of your book. It ensures your readers have a uniform and visually pleasing reading experience.

Printing and Distribution

Now that your manuscript has been edited and created, it’s time to book for publishing. The publisher will organize the printing process and decide how many copies to print based on the market’s desire and how many copies they think will sell.

Distribution methods are a key part of getting people to read your book. Partnering with wholesalers, retailers, and libraries are traditional ways to get your product out there. Also, look into digital ways to sell your book, like different ebook writing services. They will provide you with a complete solution in a single place.

Key Characteristics and Profound Details

Step Process Tips for Success
Understanding the Publishing Industry Familiarize yourself with different types of publishers and their preferences. Research extensively to find the best fit for your book’s genre and style.
Researching Potential Publishers Identify publishers who are interested in your genre and accept unsolicited submissions. Read the submission guidelines carefully and make a list of potential publishers.
Crafting a Compelling Query Letter Write a one-page document to pitch your book and yourself to agents and publishers. Keep it concise, highlight your book’s uniqueness, and explain why you’re the best person to write it.
Preparing Your Manuscript Ensure your manuscript is well-formatted, edited, and free from errors. Consider professional editing services to polish your manuscript before submission.
Submitting Your Manuscript Choose the appropriate method (email, online submission, snail mail) to send your manuscript. Follow the publisher’s guidelines precisely and personalize each submission.
Understanding the Review Process Be prepared for multiple stages of review, which can vary with each publisher. Exercise patience and be ready for possible revisions based on feedback.
Contract Negotiation and Signing Review the contract thoroughly and understand your rights and obligations. Consider legal advice to ensure the terms are fair and beneficial.
The Editorial and Production Process Work closely with the editing team to refine and improve your manuscript. Be open to feedback but also stand firm on points that are crucial to your vision.
Cover Design and Typesetting Collaborate with designers to create a visually appealing cover and layout. Ensure the design aligns with your book’s tone and subject matter.
Printing and Distribution Understand the printing process and how your book will be distributed. Explore different distribution channels, including digital platforms, to maximize reach.


Books for publishing can be a fun adventure, and people who want to write should know how to send their manuscripts to publishers. You can confidently go through the publishing process if you follow the steps in this guide and use your creativity, determination, and study skills. Remember that every author has a different path to success and that success can look different for each person. Keep doing what you love, writing and telling stories, and be open to new and exciting possibilities.

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