How to Get a Book Published: Navigating the Traditional Publishing Route
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How to Get a Book Published: Navigating the Traditional Publishing Route

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  • September 14, 2023
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  • 12 min read


Publishing a book is hard. Even if you’ve written a book before and have some experience, there’s still a lot to do. You don’t just need to write a book but also need to send out query letters to find an illustrator and edit your manuscript. If you want to self-publish, the process is much simpler. You’ll need to hire an editor and cover designer, but beyond that, there’s little else involved in terms of publishing.

But with proper planning, research, and persistence, you can make your dream of becoming an author come true! So, if you want to write can publish a book with a qualified publisher, then this is the perfect guide for you. In this Guide, American Author House will tell you all that you need to know to get published.

What is traditional publishing

Before we learn about how to get published, let’s first discuss the basics. Traditional publishing refers to the traditional method of publishing books and other written works. This involves a publisher acquiring the rights to an author’s work and handling the various stages involved in publishing the book. This process typically includes editing, design, printing, distribution, and marketing.

In traditional publishing, authors submit their manuscripts to publishing houses, and if chosen for publication, they are offered a contract. The publisher takes on the financial and logistical responsibilities of turning the manuscript into a published book. This includes working with professional editors to polish the manuscript, designing an appealing cover, and formatting the book for printing.

One of the significant advantages of traditional publishing is the legitimacy and credibility associated with it. Publishers carefully select the manuscripts they choose to publish, ensuring a certain quality level in the final product. Additionally, traditional publishing provides authors with access to a wider distribution network, allowing their books to reach a larger audience.

However, traditional publishing also has its limitations. Authors often face difficulties in finding a publisher willing to take on their work. This is because publishing houses receive numerous submissions and can only accept a limited number. This can result in a lengthy and discouraging process for aspiring authors.

Furthermore, traditional publishing typically involves a long timeline from manuscript submission to book release. The editing, design, and marketing processes can take months or even years. Additionally, authors often have minimal control over the final product, as publishers make decisions regarding cover design, title, and marketing strategy.

Despite these challenges, traditional publishing remains a popular choice for many authors, especially those seeking broader exposure and recognition. It offers the support and expertise of publishing professionals who can help refine an author’s work.

How to publish a book traditionally?

Publishing a book traditionally may seem like a tough task, but it remains a highly sought-after option for many authors.

While the traditional publishing process can be competitive and time-consuming, it offers a level of legitimacy and wide distribution. This type of benefit might not be available when self-publishing. So, if you want to opt for a rather traditional way, then let’s learn how to get published traditionally.

Step 1: Write a great book

Before you can get published, you need to write an amazing book. That’s right: no matter how many people tell you that “publishing” is where all the money is and that writing is just a hobby for them, writing is still the first step in getting your book out there.

To write a good book (and not just any old thing), here are some tips:

Write something unique

Plenty of books exist about how to make money online or lose weight fast. But if yours isn’t different from those other ones out there, why would anyone want to read yours?

Make sure yours stands out from the crowd by being different in some way. It could be as small as having more pictures than other books on its topic. Or maybe it includes information from experts who aren’t well-known yet but should be.

You can also give an unusual perspective on things because the author comes from an unusual background. Whatever makes yours stand out will help attract readers who might otherwise pass right over it!

Write something interesting 

You should make sure that whatever you write is interesting enough to get published and to get people to actually finish reading.

Step 2: Learn about the publishing industry

The second step to getting published is to learn about the publishing industry and navigate it to find an agent or publisher.

The first step in this process is understanding what a literary agent is, as well as what they do.

Literary agents are independent contractors who act on behalf of writers looking for representation in the publishing world. They usually have several clients at any given time. However, they only represent those authors whose work they feel will be marketable enough to sell successfully.

The main benefit of working with an agent is that they can help you pitch your manuscript to publishers more effectively.

These publishers are a great way if you want to slide into one of the big publishing houses.

Publishing houses are companies that publish books under their name. These include Random House and Penguin Random House, among others. These companies employ editors who work directly with authors on their manuscripts before releasing them into print form.

Step 3: Decide if you want to self-publish or pursue traditional publishing

We know this is a traditional publishing guide, but make sure that you first see if you really need the traditional way or if you can do self-publishing, too. Because If you want to self-publish, the process is much simpler. You’ll need to hire an editor and cover designer, but beyond that, there’s little else involved in terms of publishing.

However, if you’re looking for wider distribution and exposure (or simply want the prestige of being published), consider pursuing traditional channels. It may take longer than self-publishing and cost more money upfront, but this option will likely lead to better sales in the long run.

So evaluate between the two choices and see what fits you better.

Step 4: Send out query letters to agents and publishers

Now that you have a completed manuscript, it’s time to start sending out query letters and your manuscript directly.

Query letters are an important part of the process because they introduce you as an author and your book idea in one document. However, you must know how to write a good query letter so that agents and publishers can read more about what you have written!

So for that, always make sure that when sending out queries (and manuscripts), you are targeting them correctly by reading up on who represents what type of material within their agency/publishing house.

Step 5: Ask questions to ensure they’re right for you before signing anything

Once you have a book proposal, it’s time to send it out into the world. The first step in this process is finding an agent or publisher who will be interested in working with you. If they like what they see, they’ll offer to represent your book–and then begin negotiating terms of representation (the author’s fee) and royalties with publishers on your behalf.

If an agent approaches you directly without first reading one of your manuscripts or proposals (or if a publisher does), ask them questions about their track record at getting books published before signing anything!

You want someone who has experience selling books through traditional publishing routes because they know how the system works. If they don’t have any credentials on their website other than being “experienced” or “savvy,” then proceed cautiously until further research confirms otherwise.

It’s also important that both parties feel comfortable working together. So make sure that whoever represents you understands where exactly this project fits into their career goals and yours. But remember that agents aren’t just looking out for themselves–they’re also representing YOU!

Step 6: Work with an editor and illustrator

This is an important step, but it’s also one that many authors don’t realize they need until after their book is published.

The editor and illustrator will help you to make sure your manuscript is ready for publication. They will also work with you to design the cover art for your book as well as any interior illustrations or photos included inside it. If these things aren’t done well, they can ruin the reader’s experience with your book–and nobody wants that!

You should hire an editor and illustrator if:

You want someone else’s fresh perspective on how to improve your manuscript before sending it off into the world (this includes copyediting)

You want an expert eye on how well-written each chapter is so that no one gets bored reading through too much information at once (this includes proofreading)

Step 7. Finalize all contact details

Decide on the title and cover art; although You might have already decided on a title, you’ll still need to make sure that it’s available for use. You can do this by searching online or asking your publisher if they have any reservations about using it.

Then, Negotiate a contract with your publisher. Your publisher will send you a contract with all of their terms in it, which includes how much they are paying you for the book and where it can be sold (online only, Amazon only).

The contract should also state how many copies they plan on printing initially, as well as future reprinting options if necessary.

Determine the price point for the paperback version ($19-$25). Make sure this price point is competitive with other similar books in its genre! This will help ensure sales once published.

Step 8. Sit back and wait for the money to roll in… Or not…

Congratulations on reaching the finish line of your journey as an author! Now, after all of this is done, you just need to wait back and chill and wait for the money to roll in. In traditional publishing, you will be getting paid by 2 methods. In traditional publishing, you will be getting paid by 2 methods, and here are they:


Royalties are your share of the earnings from book sales. They’re usually calculated as a percentage of each sale, and you receive them regularly—typically on a monthly or quarterly basis. Some lucky authors even get annual payouts. The more copies your book sells, the more money you’ll earn in royalties. It’s a bit like an ongoing reward for your hard work.


Advances are the upfront payments you receive from the publisher before your book hits the shelves. These serve as an initial boost to your income, especially during those crucial early months when your book is fresh and relatively unknown.

But here’s the exciting part: Advances can come in more than one installment. Sometimes, you’ll receive a portion upfront, with additional payments triggered when your book achieves specific sales milestones. In some cases, authors even earn back their advances solely through royalties.

The size of your payments—whether royalties or advances—depends on your publisher’s perception of the risk involved in publishing your book. Bigger publishing houses often offer more substantial advances because they have the financial capacity to do so.

However, this might mean smaller royalty percentages. On the flip side, smaller presses may provide smaller advances but more significant royalty shares.

Choosing between a large publishing house and a smaller press is a crucial decision for authors. While big names like Random House USA Inc., HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. etc. might offer substantial advances, they may come with lower royalty rates. Smaller presses, on the other hand, might offer a more favorable balance between advances and royalties.

Ultimately, your payment structure depends on your goals, your book’s potential, and your negotiation skills. So, weigh your options carefully and make the choice that best suits your author’s journey.

Essential Steps in the Process and Detailed Insights

Steps in the Process Description Tips or Considerations
Step 1: Write a Great Book Focus on creating a unique and interesting manuscript. Consider the market and what makes your book stand out.
Step 2: Learn About the Publishing Industry Understand the roles of literary agents and publishers. Research agents/publishers that align with your genre.
Step 3: Self-Publish or Traditional Decide between self-publishing and traditional publishing. Weigh the pros and cons of each based on your goals.
Step 4: Query Letters Send out query letters to agents/publishers to introduce your work. Tailor each letter to the recipient’s interests and guidelines.
Step 5: Find the Right Fit Ensure the chosen agent or publisher aligns with your vision and goals. Ask questions and understand the contract before signing.
Step 6: Work with Professionals Collaborate with an editor and illustrator to refine your book. Choose professionals who understand and enhance your vision.
Step 7: Finalize and Wait Complete all details, including title and cover, and await publication. Be patient and prepare for the book launch and marketing.


If you have a book inside of you, it’s time to get it out. Writing is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things we can do as human beings, and if it’s something that interests you, then go for it! We hope this article has given you some helpful tips on how to get published with a publishing house.

Remember, your words have the power to captivate, inspire, and influence others. So, seize this opportunity, let your creativity flow, and share your story with the world. Embrace the joy of writing and embark on a remarkable adventure that awaits you in the world of publishing.

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