1. Use critique groups and beta readers to improve your manuscript.
Family and friends are good beta readers to start with (especially if they are avid readers), but try to get fellow authors or editors to beta read for you as much as possible. Why? If you were a chef, you’d want to be sure your customers like your food, yes. But fellow chefs or food critics are more educated and experienced at pin pointing exact problems and finding things that others might overlook, which saves you time and money.
2. Get your manuscript professionally edited.
Read more about editing here.
3. Do your research.
What type of publisher do you want to work with? What type of books do they publish? How do they pay their authors? Do they pay their authors? (Yes, that’s unfortunately a valid question.) What marketing do they provide for their authors? What reputation do their books have? What reputation do they have in the author community? Read a few of their books.
4. Be ready for what potential publishers require.
5. Know your contract options and protect your rights.
Publishers don’t always give their authors the same contracts, and not everything is set in stone. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to negotiate for what’s fair. Being rejected is better than a bad contract.
During the contract duration, who will own the rights? Which rights will you sign over or retain? (Read more about rights here.) Who owns the ISBN? You won’t want all of your work to be tied up in a *non-compete clause; avoid them!
*Non-compete clause — Part of a contract that says that an author cannot publish anything with a different company within a certain timeframe.
Read about what you should be investing in your book.
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