A question experts are often asked is: I am looking for a publisher, but how do I find it? The short answer to that question is: Think of it as a job application. When applying, you respond to positions and companies that suit you and to whom you fit your turn. To find out, you need to delve into the relevant employer and make sure that your overall presentation matches the employer so that it becomes clear that you are the ideal candidate. When approaching a publisher, it actually works the same way: you look for a publisher that fits your manuscript and then you convincingly show the publisher that your manuscript has the potential to become a successful book. The long answer we give non-fiction authors is tailor-made advice that revolves around the five steps below. For a book creator this is a very important matter.
Determine the added value of your book
Publishers carefully compile their range. They have their own contacts and channels for this and are not really interested in manuscripts from authors who have not published before. The quality is too variable for that. In addition, the publishing world has been struggling for years. Turnover is under pressure, while fixed costs continue and even increase. As a result, there is less room for investment risks. A publisher takes a considerable risk by publishing a book by an unknown author: editing, design, production, distribution and promotion costs time and money. More than ever, a publisher wonders if a book can deliver enough.
Be aware of this before you approach a publisher and find out with what added value you can reduce the investment risk of a publisher. For example, thoroughly investigate whether your target group is sufficiently large and interested in your subject. Or formulate your specific contribution to the promotion.
Get into the publishing business
It is obvious that you will not go to a publisher of children’s books with a thriller. For that, you choose publishers who have thrillers in their fund. They have experience with the genre and know the market. The same applies to a non-fiction book. Do not approach the publishers who have non-fiction in their fund, but take a good look at the titles they have already published, the books that will be published in the coming year and delve into their publishing strategy. Only in this way can you estimate whether your book will fit this publisher. Because if your book does not match the current fund, then a publisher is not interested in it and it is a shame if you send your manuscript to this publisher.
Know what publishers look for
If this manuscript fits the fund that is the first thing a publisher pays attention to. But there’s more. This way, a publisher looks at your subject and how well or originally it has been worked out. A publisher looks at the structure of your book, your sources and the writing qualities of the author. Furthermore, a publisher assesses whether you have the qualities and background to be a credible author of this book. And finally, a publisher examines whether the sales opportunities are sufficient. After all, the investment he makes in a book and in you as a new author must not only be recoverable but must also yield a return.