Book Publishing: How to Publish a Book

Welcome to our section on book publishing, which provides information about publishing a book. This section also provides book publisher resources and information about book marketing and self-publishing.

There are two main ways to publish a book. It can be published for you the traditional way through a small press or a major publishing house. The other method is to publish it yourself, which is known as self-publishing. Both publishing methods can include one or more of the different formats books are sold in today, such as hardcover, paperback, print-on-demand, ebooks and audio books.

Query Letters

You need to have a completed manuscript in order to publish a book, but agents and some publishers will take queries and book proposals about a book that is currently being written. Many major publishing houses do not accept unsolicited queries or manuscripts so you will need an agent to represent you and your manuscript. A great query letter can help you land an agent and ultimately a book deal. A query letter that is short and sweet with a great hook is the best approach for many agents and editors that are deluged constantly with queries. Author Alex Keegan explains in Writing a Query Letter That Sells why a short query letter works. Keith Rommel explains how to create and use a "hook" in his killer query writing article. In another helpful article, author Ronlyn Domingue explains how to find an agent. Her advice includes finding out exactly what agents what and personalizing your queries.

For more advice on queries and finding an agent be sure to read our interview with literary agent and author Jeff Herman. Herman talks about the biggest mistakes he sees aspiring writers make, advances for first-time authors, fair agent commissions, what excites him in a manuscript and more. In an article, "Insider Tricks to Getting Published," Herman explains how to submit queries. He also explains some of the most common complaints authors have your book is published in his article, How To Thrive After Signing a Publishing Contract.

Marketing Plan

Before you publish a book it is important to have a plan for how to market your book. A great marketing plan may even make a publisher more interested if they think it will help boost sales, especially if they are a smaller publisher with fewer resources. The announcement of a new book is a very useful promotion tool but you can't call your book a new book forever.

This is why you need to be ready to go before you publish the book yourself or before it is released by your publisher. You want to capitalize on the fact that your book is new and while the release of the book is still newsworthy. Jennifer Hollowell explains some of the many promotional efforts you can make ahead of time in her article about developing a pre-publication marketing plan.

How to Choose a Publisher?

Whether you are publishing your book through a small publisher or planning to self-publish a book there are certain things you want to look for. Our article Choosing a Publisher lays out some of the many things to look for when you choose a publisher for your book.

Book Publishing Resources

Below are more resources about getting your book published and promoting your book.

Book Publishers Directory
Find major book publishers as well as links to genre publishers, university presses and more.

Book Publisher Submission Guidelines
Submission guidelines for some publisher imprints and small book publishers seeking manuscripts.

Information about self-publishing your book including articles, interviews and links to self publishers.

Book Promotion
There are many ways to promote a book including book signings, online marketing, social media and more. Our book promotion section contains articles and resources to get you started.

Book Title Generators
Learn about the importance of having a good title and discover some tools online that will automatically generate titles for you.

Books About Book Publishing
There are many great books that explain how to publish your book. You can find them in our Writer's Bookstore.

Literary Agent Resources
Find links to articles, literary agent databases and more.