I just finished editing a really great fantasy novel for a friend, and the author asked my advice on getting it published. As it turns out, this author had already been trying to get it published for the past few years.
Being an author is not easy, but that is ridiculous. Here he has a completed, well-written manuscript. He even has a whole series that follows it.... which I am excited to read. And yet, it remains unpublished. He has sent it to countless publishers and agents, only to get rejection letter after rejection letter, or in some cases, no response at all.
He said it was obvious most had not even read his work. So disappointing! For a book that has been swirling around in his head since he was young, and for pages that took hours and hours to write, it saddens me that it just sits.
Naturally, being in the publishing business, he asked my advice. "What do I do now?" I told him that publishing companies are in business to make money. Especially these days, they need a "for sure" book to make money. They need assurance that the book will be liked. That means you need followers.
"If it was non-fiction, it would be a no-brainer. You should build up a following via a website/blog/Facebook page by making it an information center focused on the subject of your book." Once you have a lot of followers, it would show publishers that you have people ready and waiting to buy a book. Then it becomes less of a risk. Dollar signs are there.
But his book is fiction. How the heck do you gain followers when your book is fiction? How do you prove that your fiction book will sell? Let me share with you what I shared with him.
Besides writing your book and getting it published, if you don't do anything else..... you must do this.
Get an awesome endorsement.
We're talking Oprah, a reporter at the New York Times or the Today show, or anyone equally famous. Movie stars, well-known experts, or basically anyone who most people in America would have heard of. Get them to read your book and write up an endorsement, and people will notice you. People will take the famous person's word for it and probably buy your book.
Don't know any famous people? Ask around. Mention your book to everyone, see if someone "knows someone" or knows someone who knows someone. Or knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who.... you get the idea. Don't rest until you've tried everything. Ask yourself, how badly do you want this? And then press on.
Turning up empty? Look for lesser known "famous" people too. Like already famous authors within your fiction genre. In the case of my friend, he really needs to get a good endorsement from someone in the fantasy world. Ideally, he needs an endorsement from a best-selling fantasy author. So he needs to find someone who knows one. As it turns out, I know someone who might know someone, so we're going to explore that channel.
Knowing people is really key. It is what it takes in so many aspects of our lives... why would this be any different?
So get started now. Does it take a long time? Yes. But just imagine how much good it could do. A foreword by X or a short blurb endorsing your book written by Y could give your book the boost it needs to get published and eventually make some money.