How to Get a Book Published for the First Time

girl at her computer researching how to get a book published for the first time

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Are you a first-time writer or author wondering how to get your book published? There’s a lot to do, but with the right knowledge and guidance, you can navigate the publishing world, get your book to market, and find success as a published author.

Table of Contents:
Prepare your manuscript
Beta readers
Finding the right publisher
Why should you choose a self-publishing company?
Submitting your package
Preparing your book launch
Dealing with rejection

Prepare your manuscript

Before you prepare to submit your manuscript to traditional publishers or self-publishing platforms, it’s crucial that your book is professionally edited and formatted.

Beta readers

When you finish your book, an excellent way to get unbiased, critical feedback is to solicit beta readers to review your manuscript. You can ask friends or family, or you can use online forums like Fiverr to hire beta readers. It’s good to get feedback from three to five people so you can look for common comments.


Once your manuscript is where you want it to be, your next step is editing. Manuscript editing involves reviewing and revising your manuscript for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and overall clarity. It is imperative that you hire a professional editor to do this. While you will undoubtedly do rounds of self-editing, you need a second (and maybe third) set of trained eyes to review your work because you may not be able to see your own errors.

You can use a service like Grammarly, which will help clean up grammar, spelling, and usage issues, but the technology doesn’t understand all the nuances of written English. Your best bet is to hire a pro. Do not skimp on this step or you will likely regret it down the road.


Formatting involves preparing your manuscript according to industry standards, such as using the appropriate fonts, line spacing, and margins. This is important if you are planning on submitting your manuscript to an agent or editor or for self-publishing, so be sure to confirm what the expectations are to make sure you are using the required formatting before submitting your manuscript.

Finding the right publisher

Many authors dream of signing a traditional book deal with a major publishing company. There are benefits if you can do it — traditional publishing companies offer advances on royalties, global distribution, connections to reviewers and other industry bigwigs, and they have a marketing engine ready to promote your book.

The problem is, a book publishing deal is hard to come by, and there is no guarantee that your book will get the attention and support required to break through in the marketplace. There are simply too many authors out there and not enough deals to be offered to get a book published. Furthermore, most editors at publishing houses won’t take unsolicited manuscripts directly from authors, which means that you first need to get an agent. Landing an agent is challenging.

But fear not, you can self-publish your book. And in most cases, this might even be a better option for you.

Why should you choose a self-publishing company?

Self-publishing companies like BookBaby offer publishing and distribution services to authors who want to maintain creative control and retain a higher percentage of royalties than they would if they took a traditional publishing deal.

Choosing a self-publishing company can be beneficial if you prefer to have more independence in the publishing process, want faster book publishing turnaround times, or have a niche audience that may not attract a traditional publisher. Do your research and consider factors such as cost, services provided, distribution channels, satisfaction guarantees, and reputation before making a decision.

Submitting your package

Once your manuscript is finished and polished, it’s time to put together your submission package to try to get your book published. For traditional publishing, this typically involves creating a book proposal that includes a query letter, book synopsis, author bio, and sample chapters. Research literary agents or publishers who are a good fit for your book genre and follow their submission guidelines carefully.

If you choose self-publishing, you’ll need to prepare your manuscript for digital or print publication, create a professional book cover design, and plug into online retail distribution networks. This step is easy to do with turnkey self-publishing companies like BookBaby.

Preparing your book launch

six months to publishingWhether you opt for traditional publishing or self-publishing, preparing for your book launch is crucial for a successful release. This is your big chance to announce to the world that your new book is finally here and ready for purchase. Consider the following steps to prepare your book launch:

  1. Develop a marketing plan. Outline your marketing strategies, including online promotion, social media campaigns, book signings, author interviews, and collaborations with influencers or bloggers in your niche.
  2. Build an author platform. Establish an online presence through an author website, blog, and social media profiles. Engage with your target audience, share updates about your book, and build anticipation for its release.
  3. Create a book launch timeline. Set specific dates for cover reveal, pre-orders, release day, and your marketing activities. Plan your promotional efforts to generate buzz and maximize exposure.
  4. Leverage book reviews. Reach out to book reviewers, bloggers, and influencers in your genre to request reviews of your book. Positive reviews can boost credibility and attract more readers.
  5. Engage with readers. Connect with your readers through author events, book clubs, and social media interactions. Encourage them to leave reviews and recommend your book to others.
  6. Connect with other authors. You’re not the only struggling published author out there. Reach out to other authors and see how you can help each other out!

Dealing with rejection

Rejection is a common part of the traditional publishing journey, and even the most successful authors have faced multiple rejections before finding success. If your manuscript is rejected by traditional publishers or literary agents, don’t be discouraged. Consider the following tips:

  1. Learn from feedback. If you receive personalized feedback, carefully analyze it and identify areas for improvement in your manuscript. Use constructive criticism to enhance your storytelling skills and make your book stronger.
  2. Revise and resubmit. If publishers or agents provide suggestions for revision, consider implementing them and resubmitting your manuscript. Persistence and willingness to adapt can increase your chances of acceptance.
  3. Explore alternatives If traditional publishing doesn’t work out, consider self-publishing. Many authors have found success by self-publishing and have built thriving careers by taking control of their publishing journey.
  4. Keep writing. Don’t let rejection discourage you from pursuing your passion for writing. Keep honing your craft, writing new stories, and exploring different genres. Each book you write improves your skills and increases your chances of success.

You can get your book published!

Getting a book published for the first time may seem challenging, but you can navigate the publishing process successfully, just as thousands have before you. Whether you choose traditional publishing or self-publishing, have your manuscript professionally edited and formatted, research and evaluate every publishing option available, and prepare a comprehensive submission package tailored to the requirements of publishers or self-publishing platforms like BookBaby.

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  1. Your article provides a lot of useful information about how to get your book published for the first time. After reading, I felt quite encouraged and more confident with my decision. Thank you for this useful knowledge!


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