Finding a publisher isn’t the same as actually getting a publisher! Before you can get a publisher you need to actually find them in the first place! In this bulletin, I’ll look at the various methods you can use to draw up a long list of publishers who might be interested in publishing your book.
Using an agent. If you have an agent (or plan on getting one) then they should have a good idea of who might publish your book. And, even better, they might have an existing relationship with a publisher who would be interested in your book. Most will be happy to have an informal chat about whether they’re in touch with possible publishers or, if not, who might be suitable for you.
Don’t rely entirely on an agent, however. As they don’t know you or your work at this stage they can’t possibly know all the publishers who might want to publish it. Do your own research as well.
Who publishes your favourite author? This is a very good place to start. There’s a chance they could be interested in publishing your book too …. assuming you’re planning on writing the same kind of book and/or on the same genre of course.
Who publishes similar books? Approaching publishers who publish books that are similar to yours is, I think, the very best way of finding a publisher for it.
The secret to making this work is to do painstaking research: Go to the largest bookshop you can find and look for books on the same subject. Make a note of the publishers. Search using a library catalogue. Also ask the bookshop/library staff if they can point you in the direction of publishers who publish, say, period drama or IT books or whatever it is you plan to write on.
Remember that nowadays many bookshops only have a very restricted selection of books actually on the shelves. It’s also highly advisable to check online sellers as well. Searching for similar books using the Amazon catalogue is one method to try.
Who’s new in the business/in that genre? Try to find out about any new publishers who’ve recently started publishing in that field, new or existing. These publishers are likely to be looking to expand their list quickly and be more amenable to new books from new writers.
Don’t forget overseas publishers. Today publishing is a global business. The perfect publisher for your book could well be in another country. Publishers are normally very happy to publish a book from an author abroad, assuming it is right for their list. In fact, it can be a positive advantage when approaching them.
But what if you’ve tried all these methods …. and still can’t find publishers who might be interested in your book? Then, if you really want to get published, it’s time to be a little devious! Change your book or book idea so that it fits in with what the publishers you’ve researched are likely to be interested in!