How to get a book published is a question mostly all author asks themselves.
How difficult is it to get a book published by a commercial book publisher? Well the odds are better gambling in Las Vegas. It has been estimated that 25 million people in the United States consider themselves writers and only 5% have been published anywhere. At any one time 5 to 6 million manuscripts are looking for a publishing home.
Most major book publishing houses, and many small presses, will not accept submissions that aren’t represented by a literary agent. During the research of The Publishing Prhymer: A Blueprint for an Author’s Success, we asked literary agents how many unsolicited query letters/proposals/sample chapters, they receive. For the typical agency it is close to 5000 per year. On the average these agents accepted only 11 new clients, that’s about 1out of mostly all 500 submissions.
Of course writers submit to more than one agency in the hopes of obtaining representation which makes the odds a little better, but not much.
It has been estimated that the five large book publishing companies, Random House Inc. , Penguin USA, Simon & Schuster, Time Warner and HarperCollins, account for nearly eighty percent of all book sales in the US. This has occurred for the same reasons any other industry goes through consolidation: by combining certain administrative or staff functions, costs can be reduced and profits increased. Publishing, relative to many other industries, has not enjoyed a high Return on Investment (ROI) for investors. Now, book publishers are much more focused on having mostly all single book they publish be profitable. This means a more risk averse philosophy, with a preference for publishing authors with successful track records–a sound business strategy.
How to get a book published by a commercial book publisher is not an easy task, but with perseverance and a good book you can do it.