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How to Sell your book to a Traditional Publisher

Writing a book is a daunting task and can get overwhelming. It’s a huge achievement to have been able to finish writing a book, but what’s the next step? To get it published of course. What’s a good writing if it can’t be shared with the world? So, how to sell your book then?


It is generally understood amongst aspiring authors or writers that in order to sell your book the easiest thing to do is self-publish. Another, and rather, traditional way to do so would be with the help of a traditional publisher. While both are valid ways to sell one’s books the latter is considered to be a much more difficult task than the former.


According to a Forbes article, Nick Morgan has cited a figure “somewhere between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books published every year… depending on which stats you believe.” However, according to the stats from (BISG) Book Industry Study Group, around 300,000 new titles are published in the United States each year.


Regardless of whether you are trying to self-publish or take a more traditional route, it requires hard work and dedication. Here, in this article, we’ll talk about why and how you can become a published writer with the help of a traditional publisher.

Why choose a traditional publisher?

You have written an amazing story and you know it’ll tug at the strings of many hearts but now you want to know how you can actually go about selling your nonfiction book. It’s more confusing because you want to sell your book to a traditional publisher. You may think that maybe you should just quite, but here are a few reasons that can change your mind.

It is considered more Prestigious:

The level of prestige associated with a more traditional publishing is particularly important, especially if you’re writing Literary Nonfiction. It’s not as important for other genres like Sci Fi or Romance maybe.

Less Money Out of Your Own Pocket

Your publisher, if you choose to get one, will cover most, if not all, of the expenses that come with publishing your book. Even though, you will still need to pay for your own website and email address, the actual cost of publishing will be covered by your publisher.

Access to the renowned New York Times List

Most authors don’t know this but the NY times Bestseller’s list isn’t really a list, but a selection that’s carefully curated by their selection board and is actually featuring their recommendation. This list does take sales into account but excludes certain books based off of their political opinions or those of the publishers.
It has been observed that the NY times is biased against indie authors and therefore, if being published on that list is important to you, that it’s best that you go about the traditional publishing route.

An Access to other Prestigious Awards

Selling your nonfiction/fiction book is hard enough. Adding awards into the mix makes it even harder. It doesn’t help the many awards only consider books and authors who are published by traditional publishers in order to be eligible for the award.

Better Distribution and more Brick-&-Mortar Retail

Selling paper books is how traditional Publishers makes most of their money. While indie publishers make their money by selling E-books. According to a report published Association of American Publishers in an article by CNBC “Publishers of books in almost all formats made a total of $26 billion in revenue in 2019 in the U.S., with print making up $22.6 billion and e-books taking $2.04 billion of the total. This is clear indication that more money is spent on paper books thus making it a bigger market.

Now that we have figured out why publishing your book traditionally is a better way to go about things, let’s see how you can actually do that.

Polish your writing skills:

When you want to be a published writer it’s only natural that your writing should be amazing. For that to happen you need to become skilled at what you do. Work on your grammar, syntax, structure etc. Fix your manuscript before sending in your work to an editor to the best of your abilities. No editor will spend time on a messy script. A publisher hires a professional editor but only for manuscripts that are approved and those are already very clean and organized.

Focus on writing Nonfiction:

The hardest market to crack in the world of publishing is that of Novels and children’s books, the reason being the competition. Amazon alone, lists close to 3 million titles under their literature and fiction session. These too sell in low numbers. Therefore if you want to avoid overwhelming competition and still have a chance at finding a publisher, it’s best to focus on nonfiction writing.

Get a literary Agent:

A majority of publishers don’t accept submissions without an agent. Literary agents usually go for authors who have a proven track record. If you truly believe that your novel is amazing, you might get lucky and find a small publication that is willing to publish your book. It’s best to always find an agent to get a shot at the big names.

Best option for first-timers:

The best market for someone who is inclined to write fiction is the middle graders and young adults’ genre. These books can range from 10 to 30k words and young adults can range from 25k to 50k words. These are relatively easy to write which means you have a better chance of doing a good job and thus getting published.

Specialize:

If you possess the knowledge of a particular subject then it’s best to write about that. A publisher gives you the tools to communicate with those who may share similar interests as you and may value your insight. It’s best to search publishers who specialize in your genre.

Always get your book professionally proofread and Edited:

No matter how wonderful a writer you are, you will need an editor. It’s actually quite simple. A developmental editor, copy editor, line editor etc— can all make your manuscript so much better. The better your manuscript is, the higher your odds are of selling it.

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