Monday, June 4, 2018

Eight Tips on Getting Your Book Successfully Published

First, I must observe there has been a huge increase in the number of self-published books in recent years. I know there are many writers who claim to do well self-publishing. I applaud and commend them for their efforts. However, be aware that this involves a great deal of intensive work on the part of the writer and often requires a costly lay-out of expenses for professional services such as cover art and editing if the writer wants to present a quality product.

Tip #1: If you decide to self-publish, hire a professional editor and cover artist. Do not rush to publish work that is not ready. It will make you look amateurish and turn off readers.

Tip #2: Before you self-publish your writing, consider trying traditional publishing.

Let’s assume you have written a unique book, whether fiction or nonfiction. You have made certain that there are no obvious typos or grammatical errors. Take the necessary time to explore all possibilities for publication.

Tip #3: Create a query letter that will catch the attention of agents.

Google for suggestions. There are many detailed articles on this topic available for free on the internet. Generally, query letters which you send to agents must be relatively short. Agents are busy people and these days they have shorter attention spans than ever. So you want your letter to sound as interesting and professional as possible. Describe the genre of your book, the length, and give a brief, intriguing blurb in your first paragraph.

Second paragraph, offer your expertise for writing this particular book. Give any background info that might impress the agent. What have you previously had published?
Any awards for writing in this subject area?

Tip #4: Now that you have put together a general query letter, start examining the various agents. Check out WRITER’S MARKET. Get listings that tell you what the agents are interested in representing. For instance, you don’t want to send a query for a romance novel to an agent who only represents nonfiction.  

Do some research. Start with the better known agents in your genre. You can always work your way down. Pay close attention to the directions for querying and follow them exactly. Should agents responds affirmatively, submit what they request in the prescribed manner. Whenever possible, use the correct name of the agent you’re querying. Don’t start off with “Dear Agent.”

Tip #5: The top agents work with the big publishers who in turn pay advances, get your novel reviewed by influential review publications as well as providing PR people who help provide publicity and promotion. Most of all, the big publishing houses have distribution. This is vitally important if your book is going to sell and be read by the public.

Tip #6: You want a publisher that will offer you an advance against royalties which is non-refundable. I call this “good faith.” If a publisher isn’t willing to provide an advance, even a small one, it implies that publisher will do little to promote your book.

Tip #7: Contracts are negotiable. If you don’t understand the terms, ask your agent to explain and possibly work to improve the terms. You can also pay an attorney to go over the contract with you.

Tip #8: Once you sign a contract, you are bound by it. So make certain the terms are fair to you. As the old saying goes: act in haste, repent in leisure.

Note: For those who might be interested, my latest novel, DEATH PROMISE, was released on May 2nd.

You can check out the description of the new novel at:

DEATH PROMISE is now available from:

and many other booksellers.

From editorial reviews:

Library Journal

 "Romantic suspense with an interesting plot...the plot kept this reviewer turning the pages."
 Mel Jacob at Gumshoe Mystery Review:

“The romance between Daniel and Michelle is incendiary with plenty of heat. Nonetheless, they work well together to catch a killer. She struggles with wanting love and not wanting to give up her dangerous work.”
“This is a nice blend of suspense and romance with lots of action 
to keep the pages turning.”
Lelia Taylor, Buried Under Books, May 2018 

Good luck to you in getting your book well-published! Wishing you great success and recognition in your field of expertise.  If I’ve left anything out or you have questions, please write them in the comments section and they will be addressed.


  1. Good advice, Jacquie. Publishing is never easy, and it gets harder every day, especially with all the options now available. Good luck with your new book.

    1. Susan,

      I agree with publishing getting more difficult. I'm referring here to well-published rather than vanity publishing.

  2. These are great tips! Self-publishing newbies often rush to get their books out there - and their errors make the rest of us look bad. Congratulations on your new release!

    1. Maggie,

      You're right about the problem with impatience. Wannabes often don't realize that it's important not to rush the process.

  3. Excellent blog, Jacqueline. I plan on posting a blog on this topic in a couple weeks, and I'm going to include a link to your blog since you cover the information so well. Thanks.

  4. Weren’t we all anxious to get that first book out there? I admittedly rushed the process and found mistakes that the editor didn’t catch and we have a publisher. I’m learning from my own newbie mistakes. We’ve even hired an outside editor to review books for missed errors. Mistakes do spell amateur, and I hope we aren’t that anymore. On a self publishing note, it would be great to utilize marketing sites, such as Book Bub, to run sale prices on our books to build interest.

    1. Zari,

      The very best of writers make mistakes. That's why editors--good ones--are so vital to our work.

  5. Great direction for all those entering the field. I enjoyed the conciseness of it. Good luck with your latest release, gal! I'm wandering to Amazon to have a look. It sounds excellent!

    1. Thank you, Loretta. I realize with you I'm preaching to the choir, but I do help the blog helps those who are just getting started.

  6. Great advice Jacqueline!
    Thanks for sharing
    Good luck and God's blessings

  7. Good advice all around; however, finding an agent is arduous.., .sometimes harder than finding a publisher. I love the variety of your work as well as your professional expertise as an author.

  8. Susan,

    I have in the past worked with several agents. However, they never sold my novels. I've done that on my own. But I still recommend to those starting out to try and obtain the services of a legitimate agent, one who accepts a 15% payment on what they sell.