If you decide you want to have your blogged book—or any book—published by a traditional publisher, you need to understand the traditional publishing process. Keep in mind the different types of publishers, how they like to be approached, what they look for in aspiring authors.
Every publishing house has certain submission criteria. Smaller ones will list these online. Each house also has certain types of books they publish. However, with the exception of small independent publishing houses, before your proposed book project or manuscript is purchased it must seen and accepted by:
- a literary agent
- an acquisitions editor
- an editorial board or a “pub” board
Only then will you receive a contract.
In almost all cases, you need an agent to approach a publishing house. The literary agent serves many roles (which I will discuss further in my next post) but primarily opens the door for you to acquisitions editors and publishers. Agents have contacts with many acquisitions editors, who trust them to bring only marketable and correctly targeted projects to them.
To gain representation by a literary agent, you must send a query letter. If the agent is intrigued by your query letter, you will be asked to send along a book proposal or a manuscript (or even some sample pages), depending upon your genre. (I’ll discuss this further in an forthcoming post.)
If the agent finds your proposal or manuscript acceptable, he or she will offer you representation. You then sign a contract agreeing to pay the agent a percentage of your advance and royalties.
Acquisitions Editors are publishing representatives who acquire manuscripts for publication. Some acquisitions editors work as developmental editors. Early in the process of acquiring a book they may also work as creative consultants, offering feedback and input to the agent on a project to help the writer make it publishable.
Agents contact acquisitions editors by query letter. If interested, an editors requests a proposal or manuscript. He or she will evaluate this, and if interested then will take the project to an editorial meeting or pub board meeting.
Editorial or Pub Board Meetings
The decision by a publishing company to purchase a manuscript involves many people all of whom are concerned with the creative aspect of the project as well as its marketability or salability. The editorial or pub board meetings at a publishing house typically involve a team of acquisitions editors and the publisher, but they could include marketing personnel as well. Or the editor additionally could present the proposed project at a marketing meeting. In all cases, the acquisitions editor serves as an advocate for the author and the book.
If everyone agrees the project is viable from a business perspective, the acquisitions editor will contact the writer’s agent and then have the publishing company’s legal department draw up a contract. Some of the details in the contract can be negotiated and often are. The contract will be sent to the agent, who sends it the writer. They consult on the terms. All negotiations are done via the agent, editor and legal department.
Once the contract is signed by all the concerned parties, your traditional book deal is done. Of course, you still need to meet your deadlines and turn in a fabulous book.
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