Finding the Right Publisher

Jennifer Mendez The Writing Process

The book has been written and polished. It’s been read, then reread. Edited, deleted, restored and edited some more.

This is the writing process, and the day-to-day of the average author. Spending so much time writing, then undoing and redoing all that effort, takes time. Once it’s all done, the only right thing to do is publish it. Authors don’t write for themselves, they have an audience to entertain!

But just how does an author find a publisher? And how do authors know when they’ve found the right publisher for them?

Know Your Core Audience

Everything starts and ends with a core audience. Without them, authors have no careers. Before setting out in search of the right publisher, authors need to define their readers. Are these people looking for the next YA or the next science fiction novel? How about romance, mystery, or fantasy?

In essence, authors need a niche. Publisher relations tend to flow with niche authors in mind. Each publisher has specialties they enjoy reading and backing. By knowing what niche to focus on, the search for the right publisher begins to take shape.

Research the Market

Authors should refrain from cold-calls. A worthwhile publisher will not work with these authors. Instead, authors should be researching publishers that produce books like theirs. Essentially, the idea here is to limit the number of results, much like using filter settings. In doing so, the author can list publisher names, and reach out to the best possible prospects.

Use Valuable Resources

Limiting the search to just Google searches may work for online shopping, but it is only a part of the puzzle in this instance. Using the Writer’s Market, or Literary Market Place, can really help specialize the search for publishers. These sources list what publishing companies are buying, the rates, and submission directions.

Following Instructions

Contacting publishers is much like a job application. Submitting quality work and meeting the desired requirements will increase probability of being called back. Submission guidelines must be followed in order to be taken seriously. Submitting a manuscript might be all some publishers want. But others will ask for social media accounts, resumes, and cover letters.

Preparing Your Manuscript

If a hardcopy is required, authors need to print their manuscripts on high-quality white bond paper. Double-spaced, with a 1-inch margin on all sides, is the common rule. Always number the pages, and check spelling extensively. Font should be clear, easy to read, and usually 10-12 pt. Consulting The Writer’s Digest Guide to Manuscript Formats is a useful resource.


Writing a book is only part of the battle, albeit the most challenging. After extensively editing it with an editor, it is important to research publishers. Focusing on those that specialize in specific niches is the best tactic, as cold-calling does not generate results. Instead , finding ways of filtering results, and submitting high-quality work to a select few is the answer.

Whatever the journey may hold, and however long it takes, authors should always remember rejection is normal. Anticipating many letters of rejection, prior to finally hearing some great news, is wise.

About the Author

Jennifer Mendez

Jennifer Mendez has brought insightful articles to From author interviews to how literature meets gaming to expert insight into tools and writing processes, her dedication to helping our author community is quite inspiring. You can find more of her writing at

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