Wow, I'm getting a lot of inquiries in regards to the publishing process and what I went through to try to get my book, The Sorcerer's Dragon, published.
That's awesome, I feel special to have sparked some inspiration for some of you writers out there!
I don't mind sharing any of my experiences with you guys in what I did and I hope what I post here will help you guys who are also trying to get your stuff published as well
For starters, this didn't happen to me over night. I first started working on the Armageddon Series when I was 14 years old back in 2004 after I watched the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie and after I wrote out my Harry Potter fanfiction (which was over 330 pages and I handwrote this on notebook paper XD). After I wrote out my first fan fiction, I then decided that I wanted to write my own original story. I loved fantasy so much and I loved dragons. Plus, I also just read through Eragon and Eldest not long before I started my own story so that really inspired me too.
You know what I started to do? I went to my computer and literally just wrote out my first novel in a month.
I didn't worry about any grammatical errors or plot inconsistencies or anything like that; I wrote out a 336 page novel in about a month. I wanted to get my idea there and on the screen. After that, I decided it was going to be a series of three books. Later down the road, I decided to make it a total of 4, instead of making it a trilogy XD
Then came the fun part of editing it. It took me about 8 years worth of editing to get my book to where it's at right now. I've been working on this book before I even joined deviantART! You wouldn't believe all the changes it went through, but they were definitely for the better.
1. When you have an idea that you want to publish, but aren't sure of which publisher to go with, DO RESEARCH.
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH! VERY CRUCIAL! This is extremely important because you may find the wrong publisher who doesn't publish your kind of novel. Maybe they only publish poetry and short stories, maybe they only publish fiction, or just non-fiction. Make sure you do your research! I used to use writersmarket.com but you need a paid membership for that, so I ended up just using google. Google is your best friend when it comes to search engines, at least for me it was. Or use another search engine if you don't like google, it doesn't matter.
2. Have a good market plan for your book.
If you truly feel passionate about your story, make sure you do the work. Publishers usually want to see a query letter for your book. A query letter (I know, the name sounds really funny but trust me on this), is what usually will sell your book. It's a good idea to see how sample query letters are set up so that you can have an idea on how to write yours. That's what I did to help me write mine. Make sure that you're formal and polite and that you sound professional. If you need to see any examples, I can share mine with you guys (DO NOT COPY DIRECTLY, YOU CAN USE IT AS AN EXAMPLE TO HELP YOU GET THE BASIC SET UP OF A QUERY LETTER BUT DO NOT COPY OR DUPLICATE DIRECTLY):"[YOUR NAME]
[CITY, STATE, ZIP CODE, COUNTRY]
[TO THE NAME OF THE PUBLISHER YOU'RE SENDING THIS TO]
[PUBLISHER'S ADDRESS IF KNOWN]
[PUBLISHER'S LOCATION IF KNOWN]
[PUBLISHER'S EMAIL OR PHONE NUMBER IF KNOWN]
To Whomever This May Concern [THIS IS GENERALLY WHAT I PUT IF THERE IS NO NAME OF THE PERSON I'M SPECIFICALLY SENDING THIS TO, BUT AGAIN, MAKE SURE YOU DO RESEARCH ON THIS. PUBLISHERS LIKE TO SEE THAT YOU'RE DOING RESEARCH],
I would like to first begin by thanking you for your time and consideration in my novel, The Sorcerer’s Dragon, book one of the Armageddon Series. This 110,260 word novel is in the same genre as the Inheritance Series by Christopher Paolini as well as the Temeraire Series by Naomi Novik.
The destiny of the world has been written, and the kingdom of Oblivion shall reign over the earth. When a demonic entity known only as the Sorcerer breaks free from the gates of Oblivion, a war broke out in the empire of Armageddon that lasted over one hundred years. This tragedy served as a distraction for the Sorcerer to search for a legendary blade known as Ragnarok that, according to religion, was created by the three Divine beasts that would give him the power as the ultimate ruler of the three worlds of Asgard, Oblivion, and earth. However, this was only part of his plan for complete domination.
The Sorcerer, at the very beginning, already captures Selena Ayladail, the empire’s only hope for fighting back, and erased her memories, preparing the sacred ritual of sacrificing and using her sinless blood to awaken what is known by religion as the Destroyer. According to the religion in Armageddon, the Destroyer, if summoned, would completely destroy all life that existed, and can only be controlled by the power of Ragnarok. To do this, he needs to bathe a certain dragon’s egg in her blood to conjure it, the Divinity Dragon, to plague it with evil and demonic power. However, part of his plan is interrupted by a rescue team sent by the Empress of Armageddon herself to stop this from happening. Selena and the newly hatched Divinity Dragon, whom she later deems Thor, have to live with Chaliss Branwen, who considers Selena her very own along with her son, Rahim. Through all of this, Selena slowly uncovers her identity, starting with the symbol on her left palm that marked her as the one born without sin. She also learns of the corruption that takes place within the Coven, the organization that upholds the laws of Armageddon while the Empress is considered a figurehead. Since she and the young dragon became partners from the very beginning, this causes major conflict with the Coven, since women were not allowed to become dragon riders in Armageddon. As she, Thor, and her friend Rahim adventure across the land, she unravels the truth behind the war and Ragnarok, her gift with magic, the customs of Armageddon, and experiences first-hand the true wickedness of the Sorcerer.
I’ve been a writer since I was twelve years old. I have written three other novels in this series that are in editing (The Sorcerer’s Dragon, The Dark Knights’ Betrayal, The Apocalyptic War, and Armageddon). I have received some praise from a couple of book publishing companies, such as Open Book Press, complimenting that my novel was “impressively written and [has] captured our interest.” In high school, I’ve had one short story published in the school newspaper. In addition, as an after school activity, I took part in helping write out plays for my local town theatre, called the Tin Shed Theatre. Included in this, I was invited to do a special presentation for a fourth grade class to describe the process of writing a novel, using the first two chapters of The Sorcerer’s Dragon as an example.
Once again, thank you very much for your time and consideration in my novel, The Sorcerer’s Dragon.
With all due respect,
This is not the most perfect query letter out there, but you get the general idea and set up for how it should look. There are plenty of other query letter examples out there and I'm at least happy to know that mine made it through one of the publishers. Here is usually the basic format that publishers like to see in a query letter: First Paragraph
: This is where you usually typically begin by thanking them for their time and consideration into looking into your novel. This is where you can also compare your novel to other similar best sellers, like what I did here. You usually want to include the word count of your novel so the publisher knows how long your work is. Second to Third Paragraphs:
This is usually where you'll spend a little bit of time talking about the summary of your novel. Try to capture key points that make your novel stand out to publishers, make them want to be interested! The next paragraph after the summary paragraph(s) should be a little bit about yourself.
Did you have any other work published? Did you write other books as well? Even as something as small as having a piece published in a school newspaper is better than nothing. Just try not to go too overboard with yourself though. Your closing sentence should again to be thanking the publisher for their time in reading through your submission.
Always try to be polite and professional.
Try to keep your query letter short and sweet and to the point, to about a page. Remember that publishers have to read through a lot of query letters every single day. Make sure that you can make yours stand out to them!
3. Again, I can't emphasize the research part enough. Research the publishers you want to send your manuscript to. Some publishers will want a couple of sample chapters along with your query letter, some publishers may want the entire manuscript and nothing else. You have to make sure that you do everything right by their books. Some publishers also will only sometimes accept email submissions or some will only accept mailed paper submissions.
4. For publishers that need your mailed in submissions, make sure you include an SASE (self-addressed stamped envelop) in with what you're submitting to them. Publishers will not pay for the postage to send a response to you. If you don't include this, you may not even get a reply from them. Luckily most publishers accept email submissions but there are still a few out there that don't, so again, research.
5. Don't get discouraged if you receive a rejection letter. I received well over 60 probably at this point in time. You will most likely get a rejection letter unless you get lucky and find that publisher who wants to publish your work. Just keep going for it if you want to do this, don't let one silly rejection get you down.
6. Also, don't expect your work to be on the New York's Best Time Sellers List (I know that I don't expect my book to be but yes, it would be cool). Most authors who do get published don't even make it so don't keep your expectations too high. I only say this because I usually see alot of writers out there who are like, "my book is going to be turned into a movie! It's going to be on the best seller's list!" and so on. Again, it would be a nice goal to have, but don't expect it to be.
7. Sometimes publishers will not accept unsolicited, or unagented material. What this means is that in order for a publisher that doesn't accept this to look at your manuscript, you would need a literary agent to represent you and your idea. I hate this part, so I really just skipped it because I learned that some people who claim to be literary agents aren't always what they claim to be. Again, that's where the research comes in to make sure you have a legitimate agent to represent you. Since I skipped this step, I tried looking for just specifically publishers that do accept unagented material.
Whew... that's the basic general idea of it all ^^ I hope this helps you guys