Publishing a book is the second highest goal in America. There are many writers out there--and many individuals who are trying to publish their book. Unfortunately, with the shear number of manuscripts even a good one has a very low chance of being published. Most the time, the MS will be put in a slush pile, which is in very close proximity to the trash can. For a first time author, and in this economy, getting published by a major publishing house is akin to purchasing a winning lottery ticket.
The stories that are mostly likely published are women’s fiction--since this represents the largest readership. But, just because it is most likely published, it does not mean it will be successful. With the abundant amount women's fiction out there, it is hard to make a name for oneself unless you have a unique idea (like vampires?).
Publishers are looking for a sure thing--something that will sale at least 10,000 copies. Even if you have the best query letter, the best book idea, and the best 'go getter' attitude, they won't be likely to pick up your book unless you have a platform. A platform is a large amount of individuals that are interested in the things you write--such as a blog or a youtube following.
Like all platforms, in order to have viability, the creator needs to produce value. A good level of value is to have 3 quarters value to 1 quarter advertisement. That means for everything you try to get your readers to do or buy, you should have add at least 3x the value with good information.
If you've tried establishing a platform, but only can get a few uninterested relatives to join. Then you need to impress the publishers with your publishing experience--or as they call it publishing credits. Essentially, what other publishers have taken a chance on you in the past? To meet this end, it is important to take every opportunity to publish anything you can--such as an article in a church newsletter, or a letter to the editor in the local newspaper. Make attempts to publish in every small newspaper or magazine in your area. Usually small papers will be more than delighted to publish a well written article--especially if it means they don't have to write it themselves. The publishers will want to know pertinent publishing credits; so be sure to wright articles that establish you as an expert in the field that your book is being published--this is especially true for a non-fiction.
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