It’s no easy feat, writing a book. Heck, even churning out a manuscript can feel like a mammoth task, and when you’re through with it and think you can relax — you realize that it isn’t over at all. It has only just begun. As an author, you now have to think about how to get a good book publishing deal.
A traditional book deal involves two parties, the author and the publisher. The process of getting a traditional, good book publishing deal can feel like you’re setting out to capture a mythical creature. But we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to feel like grasping at straws.
Your dreams of getting a satisfying deal and kickstarting the publishing process to get your work out there are not that far away.
In this article, we’ll take you through what a good book publishing deal looks like, how to get one, and what common mistakes you can avoid before signing a contract.
How to Get a Good Book Publishing Deal?
When a traditional publishing company offers you a contract to sell your book to them under certain conditions, such as an advance, a specific royalty rate, and other requirements and specifications, this is referred to as a book deal.
Now, you might ask, “how hard is it to get a book publishing deal?” It can take a long time to land a great deal, but don’t let this deter you from becoming an official, published author. Here are the steps you need to take to get a book publishing deal:
Write A Stellar Book Proposal
Writing a solid book proposal will measure your ability to summarize your work efficiently and eloquently. It’s essential to have a superb proposal because this is what publishers and agents will judge the entire breadth of your writing on. Book deals for new authors rely totally on a good proposal.
- A header
- A brief or a long synopsis of your book (whatever you deem necessary)
- A chapter-by-chapter breakdown of events
- A sample chapter
- Book details like the number of pages, if it has images, and examples of the sort of images you want
- A section called “about the author” where you write a short biography about yourself
Additionally, adding the sort of audience you’re targeting with the book is vital. Publishers would like to know that their writers can reach a book-buying audience. This segment should display your reach.
You could also add a market profile for your book. This lets publishers know that you’re filling a void in the existing market, which any other book hasn’t filled. This is where you talk about why your book is special!
Get your blurb written out by someone influential if you know the right type of people. This will help a lot. Determine a schedule for when you will submit your final manuscript as well.
Look For a Literary Agent
This is where a bit of luck or contacts are required. Go out there and start networking, or contact people you already know who can lead you to a good literary agent. If these ways aren’t ideal, you can always look for literary agent listings online and send them your proposals or queries.
A query is like a distilled version of your book proposal. Make it a tight one-pager that the agent can quickly read and decide whether they’re on board. Doing your research, whether it’s online or through word of mouth, will be the best way to nab a great agent.
Why Do You Need an Agent?
Literary agents can obtain and negotiate contracts for their book authors. Not only this, but they take the load off by submitting manuscripts to book publishing houses on behalf of their clients.
They can also help you understand the mechanics of how to get a book deal before writing the book. A good agent also keeps your best interests in mind since you are their client.
Leave it Up to Your Agent
So, you’ve got yourself a great agent that you can trust. What next?
It’s time to wait and leave it all up to your agent. Ensure you maintain a constant line of communication with them and ask for updates on the publisher search process.
Your agent will continue the arduous process of getting your proposal out to different publishers, making all the cold calls needed, sending out the necessary emails, and pitching your work to publishers.
They might also suggest changes in the manuscript based on their expertise and industry know-how.
Get Your Proposal to Publishers
Now, the agent’s job is to get the proposal out to publishers. You have nothing todo, unless you’re working on the second book in a series or moving on with your next writing project.
Allow your agent to do their job, check in with them to see if they have any needs, and keep doing what you’ve been doing and writing!
The most significant aspect of this process is waiting. It might feel frustrating and bring your hopes down from time to time, but it’s important to remember that you must persevere. You’ve done all you could, and in due time, you will see the fruits of your labor.
Literary agents will also help you to negotiate the terms of the deal. And, as with a job offer, you should only accept the first offer if you’ve exhausted all options and/or your negotiating position is risky).
What Makes a Good Book Publishing Deal
We’ll focus on the three main things that determine whether or not you’ve got a good deal. While most of it is dictated by money, do note that money is not always everything. Your literary agent will guide you through the contract as well.
A good contract will have stipulated, drawn-out rules about licensing rights, grant rights, copyright license rights, distribution, marketing, and most importantly, the advance you get and the royalties you will make!
Let’s dive in.
Book deals are based on advances, which are the sums of money the publisher is willing to spend upfront. Not only do advances demonstrate a publisher’s confidence that your book will sell, but you are usually not required to repay the entire advance amount.
What a “good” deal looks like:
- Nice deal: $1 to $49,000
- Very nice deal: $50,000 to $99,000
- Good deal: $100,000 to $250,000
- Significant deal: $251,000 to $499,000
- Major deal: $500,000+
However, you should be prepared not to get an advance as well. It’s very common for publishers to take your book on without providing an advance. Don’t let this deter you from taking the deal if your agent believes it’s good.
But that doesn’t mean you must settle for anything you get. If you still feel like you deserve more, keep looking!
A book royalty is a payment made to an author by a publisher in exchange for the right to publish their book.
Royalties are based on the number of books sold. For example, an author could earn 7.5% royalties on each paperback sold and 25% on each eBook sold.
Royalties are only given when a traditional publishing process is followed. They do not exist in self-publishing because the writer sets the rates and determines the profit margin.
Good Self-Publishing Book Deals
This brings us to another niche when it comes to how to get a book publishing deal. The self-publishing niche. Even among established authors, self-publishing has become a new trend. Many authors choose self-publishing because they want complete control over the publishing process and the ability to keep 100% of book sales profits.
In independent book publishing, authors are responsible for everything. The author is in charge of ISBN issues, copyright, and license legalities. Aside from writing, editing, and the aforementioned responsibilities, authors must also create demand for their books through marketing and promotion.
So, it may seem daunting, but with a good literary agent in hand, a killer book proposal, and loads of patience, you, too can snag an amazing book deal. A self-publishing deal book is also viable so long as you’re prepared to market and promote your book to the right audience.