Getting a deal with a literary agent or mainstream publisher isn’t easy. And barely a few days go by when Featureworld does not receive an enquiry from someone about writing a book. Here, we give the ultimate guide to getting started on writing a book – where to get tuition or some feedback on your book and which literary agencies and publishers to approach…
Getting published: Here is a typical letter …
“Despite going through so much trauma in my life, I am a survivor. People are always telling me I should write a book! Now I want to inspire others that you can go through a nightmare and come through it. Can you help me sell a book about my real-life story and get it published?”
So how do you get started and get published?
Scroll down for a list of publishers…
Firstly at Featureworld as we are not literary agents we cannot publish your novel or help you write your book and get it published. What we can do, as publicists and media agents, is gain you publicity for your book when you have written it. Alternatively, we can sell your real-life story to a magazine, newspaper and TV and with all that publicity, it might get picked up by a publisher.
If you have published or self-published your book, need publicity – and have a real-life story to tell – then contact us now using the form to the right of this page >>>
But what if you are at the beginning and just thinking of writing a book? Then you need to consider the following…
* Unless you can afford to pay a ghostwriter thousands of pounds to write your book for you – with no guarantee that it would be bought by a publisher – then you will have to write your book yourself.
* There is no easy way of writing a book. The only way is for you to physically sit down and write it.
* Before you embark on writing a book, do your research. Has the book you want to write already been written? Your book must be unique or have a new angle on an old theme to be successful.
* The vast majority of publishers do not want to buy a book from an author who is only going to write one novel (about their life). Publishers are a business making money and it costs too much to promote a one-off author. So you will be more successful if you have at ideas for at least three books under your belt.
* The publishing world is fiercely competitive. Publishers and literary agents receive thousands and thousands of book ideas from wannabes every year. Out of this, they probably only take on one new author occasionally.
If you still want to write your book, then follow these rules for best results!
* You must have written the first three chapters at least of your book before sending it to a publisher or literary agent. Ideally you have completed the book (the average book has 75,000 to 80,000 words) because this shows you can finish it.
* You must be able to show any publisher or literary agent a plan – how your story starts, what happens next and how it ends.
* You need a snappy title and synopsis for your story. You should be able to describe your story in a short paragraph!
* Your story must be type written in Word and most agents will want to read it in double line spacing. Ensure you check it thoroughly for spelling and grammar.
* Include a biography of yourself with your story. Make yourself sound interesting!
When you have all of the above, research the best agents and publishers to send it to. Note that these days few publishers accept manuscripts so you will need to be taken on by a literary agent first. Do not send your non-fiction real-life story to an agent who only deals in fiction – it will of course be rejected!
Send your covering letter, synopsis, first chapter and biography to agents or publishers – following their submission guidelines to the letter – and wait. Hopefully you will get some interest but prepare yourself for rejection.
If you are not successful approaching literary agents and publishers, consider self publishing your novel. At Featureworld we are able to gain self-published novels publicity as well as novels published by a mainstream publisher.
At the very least, even if it is not published, you could consider simply getting one copy printed and bound. That way generations of your family to come might well enjoy reading about you. In fact, a family book can be a wonderful heirloom to pass to your children and grandchildren.
Some UK agents and publishers that will consider real-life non-fiction – remember to read the submission guidelines carefully and stick to them!
TIP: Click on the link provided and read the website carefully. Does this agent or publisher deal with the type of book you are writing? How does this agent or publisher want you to approach them – some are not happy with you sending them an email and others only accept approaches by email. So, in order to make the best first impression, it is worth spending the time reading their sites carefully BEFORE you send any material.
John Blake Publishing
“We are always looking for inspiring/shocking real life stories from ordinary people. If you have overcome adversity of lived through a dramatic personal experience please feel free to send a short synopsis to email@example.com.
Help and Tuition
Read more about getting a book published:
Sell My Novel: How to gain publicity for your book via Featureworld
Short fiction story to sell? Find out more about submission of your short fiction story to a magazine.
Please note, while everyone listed is a bona-fide agent, publisher, critique or literary service, this is not an exhaustive list and Featureworld cannot be responsible for outside websites.
* Featureworld is not able to give any advice about getting a book published with any of the above agents, publishers or services.