How to I start?
Typically, you pitch an idea or send a query letter before you write an entire manuscript that may or may not be accepted. Don’t pitch to a company that doesn’t accept unsolicited manuscripts. Don’t pitch a romance to a company that specializes in mystery or a children’s book to a company that specializes in adult literature. Do your homework. Check websites or get access to the Writer’s Market.
Do I send everything?
Never write or submit more than an idea or several chapters It’s unrealistic to expect one or more people to drop a current project and read your 50,000 words overnight.
What about a contract?
Never work without a contract. Contracts vary from company to company. Again, unless you are Stephen King, Lady Gaga, or a Real Housewife, don’t expect millions in signing bonuses. Traditional publishing houses are not going to extend any offer until you have proven yourself profitable. Small publishing houses don’t make those kinds of offers.
How long before I publish my book?
Just because you have finished writing, or assume you have a final product, that is not true. You are now in the hands of several editors and the editing process. And unless you are Ernest Hemingway, you need those editors. (See my blog about the publishing process and what does an editor do.)
You want the best for your “baby.” There are short cuts, but that doesn’t guarantee your baby will be healthy and thrive.