Last Updated on July 20, 2022 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD
In the publishing industry, there is a lot of talk about what makes a book worth publishing.
Everyone has their own opinion on this topic, but I’ve compiled 12 indicators that your book might be worth publishing based on the experiences of veteran publishers.
12 Indicators that your Book is Worth Publishing
There are many factors that go into determining whether or not a manuscript is ready for print, and these 12 points will help you determine if your book has what it takes!
It’s important to remember that content precedes everything else when it comes to books. If the content isn’t up to par, neither will be any other part of the book, not even the cover design! Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, make sure that something is interesting about this story or topic to capture a reader’s attention from page one.
The Cover Design
A good cover design can catch a reader’s eye and draw them to pick up your book. The cover should convey the genre of the book and give readers an idea of what they will find within its pages.
There are many free or low-cost places that you can get your book covers designed at such as Fiverr.com, but also consider hiring someone to do it for you. A good cover design can make your book stand out from the rest!
The Subject Matter
The subject matter of your book should be up-to-date and in line with current trends. For example, if your book is about coding, it may be dated by the time it’s published. Check your topic and make sure that it hasn’t already been written about a lot!
If you’re writing fiction, then the ideal word count is between 40,000-80,000 words. If you write nonfiction, try to stay between 15,000-25,000 if possible without compromising quality.
There will be exceptions to these guidelines, but as a general rule of thumb, this is what editors are looking for when considering whether or not a manuscript is worth publishing.
The Writing Style & Tone
The way in which you convey your ideas in your book has just as much impact on its success as anything else does! Make sure that you have something interesting to say and that you say it in an interesting way!
The Target Audience
You should make sure that you know who your target audience is before writing anything. If you don’t, you may end up with a book that no one wants to read, but if you do, the book will be easier and more effective to write!
The Back Cover Blurb/Description
A back cover blurb or description can help attract readers when they’re looking for something new to read or are browsing a bookstore’s shelves—but only if it does its job well. It should entice readers by giving them enough details about the story without giving away any spoilers and getting people hooked on your work of fiction or nonfiction!
The Grammar & Punctuation
Grammar and punctuation are crucial for a good book because they don’t detract from the story; instead, they help readers get pulled in by making it easier to read. Without proper grammar and punctuation, your book will have to work harder than it has to catch people’s eyes or ears if you’re writing audiobooks or anything else like that!
The Writing Voice
Your writing voice is another important factor when deciding whether or not your manuscript is worth publishing. The audience will be able to tell if you’re trying too hard with the way you write, which can be off-putting for potential readers and publishers alike!
Make sure that you have a writing style of your own that is easy to read and interesting enough to keep people reading!
Your characters are one of the most important parts of your book because they will make it unique from anything else on the market. If you don’t have fully fleshed out, relatable characters, why would someone want to read about them?
Make sure that all of your main characters have some depth, even if they’re superficial at first glance!
It’s also helpful if they’re a bit quirky—at least try to give them something interesting or different about their personalities so that readers will be able to connect with them more easily! Think about how these character’s lives interact with each other and how they can affect your plot.
Your novel or nonfiction book should have a unique plot! Your story may be entertaining, but if it’s not fresh or unique enough, then it probably isn’t worth publishing.
Readers want something different, so make sure that you’ve considered how to make your book stand out from the rest of the market! It will also help inspire you to write more quickly and with better quality because the idea of creating something new and exciting is more appealing when you’re able to write about characters that are new and exciting as well!
The Finishing Touches
You’ve finished writing your manuscript, but that doesn’t mean that it’s ready to be published! Your book should go through several editing stages to make sure that all the kinks are worked out and as polished as possible before being released into the world.
Your story will have a better chance of succeeding if you invest time, energy, and love into developing each stage for your novel or nonfiction book so try not to rush this process! After all, if you do, then how other people can trust your work?
Writing a book isn’t easy, but it shouldn’t be hard if you follow these 12 basic steps!
A good rule of thumb is that if something seems difficult, you should probably take another approach to figure out your problem. Writing isn’t easy but making sure that people enjoy reading it can be simpler than you think if you follow these tips!
How to determine if your book has a high potential for commercial success?
A unique plot is one of the key factors which will make your book a commercial success. One great way to judge if your plot is different from others out there is by looking at other books in the same genre.
Of course, you shouldn’t copy another author’s storyline or characters, but it’s a good idea to look at what’s already available and how you can set yourself apart.
One way to do that is by using a ‘cliffhanger’ at the end of each chapter, which will make readers want to read more. For example, if your novel is about solving a crime, make each chapter ends with the detective just learning something new or getting closer to the truth-so that readers will want to keep reading to find out more information and discover the ‘whodunit.’
Having a great title is another important factor. Your book’s title should be short, catchy, unique, relevant, yet still have an air of mystery. For example, “Harry Potter” would not be a good title for a book about magic and wizards in the modern world. But it does have that mysterious factor that makes readers wonder why it’s called “Harry Potter” and what this unknown Harry will do with his life when he grows up.
The setting should be interesting-in other words, different from your normal day-to-day surroundings to engage readers. If you’re writing about a young professional who lives in a big city, the setting needs to be inspired by New York, Sao Paulo, or Tokyo to capture readers.
Your book’s right point of view is crucial if you want it to be a commercial success. Most mainstream books are written from a third-person perspective, allowing readers to see the story through different characters’ eyes.
However, suppose your book is written from a first-person perspective or one of limited omniscience point of view (where you can only know what the protagonist knows). In that case, it might be harder for popular, commercial success.
Another question that should help you determine whether or not your book is up to par and worth publishing is whether it has a well-defined protagonist. The best books have not only engaging protagonists but also ones who change in some way by the end of the story.
For example, if your protagonist starts as hardworking and becomes lazy after gaining success through talent, you should consider rewriting this character arch.
12 common mistakes made by authors while publishing their books
Publishing a novel is something that many people aspire to do, but the process can be overwhelming. You need to keep in mind so many things and make sure of them before you send your manuscript off into the world.
Here are the 12 common mistakes made by authors while publishing their books-mistakes that may cause an author’s book not to get published or only reach a small audience.
1. Not letting others proofread their work
2. Sending the same manuscript to all publishers and agents
3. Not understanding the submission guidelines of a publisher you wish to submit your manuscript to
4. Using bad quality paper for printing your book (for example, cheap newsprint or copy paper)
5. Making small changes in the manuscript that won’t make a difference in the story
6. Using stock photos or images for your book cover
7. Not using an ISBN or copyright page
8. Sending the wrong file (not compatible with publisher’s requirements) to publishers and agents
9. Sending physical copies of your manuscript instead of digital files
10. Giving up too easily
11. Relying on one publisher to get you published
12. Selling your book before it’s even published
10 Tips to ensure that your book is going in the right direction from the start
- If it isn’t something you want to spend years working on, don’t waste your time trying to sell a book that isn’t worth publishing! You should be passionate about the story and characters; otherwise, you’re just wasting all of your time and effort.
- Make sure that each character has their unique personality-it’s important that they’re not flat so that readers will care about them more!
- The plot will be the basis for your entire novel or nonfiction book so make sure to have a good idea in mind before writing anything down if you can help it! This will help keep things uniform and original because there won’t be anything off-putting or distracting in your writing.
- Find a unique way to tell the story and give it some structure. Think about how you can keep readers interested in the characters, plot, and theme. You must present your story interestingly, so concentrate on what makes yours different from other stories on the market!
- Try taking classes or going to lectures at your local library if this is something you’re not sure how to handle! Make sure you take notes and pay attention because they’ll help teach you more than anything else will! Don’t be afraid of asking questions when you don’t understand something because it’s better than being ignorant about things that could make your book worth publishing once your professor in class brings them up!
- Invest time and energy into these kinds of things because they’ll make your story worth publishing that much easier!
- Add humor and suspense to your plot if you can manage it. Think about how you can present the information given to you in new and interesting ways; this will enable you to keep readers hooked on what’s happening at all times!
- If possible, try getting someone else involved in helping out with editing or giving feedback. A fresh set of eyes is always welcome when trying to discover problems within your writing, so it’s a good idea to get some help from people who are better qualified than yourself when trying to find any flaws in what you’ve written! Talk about the book with other people-if something is dragged out or boring, try to figure out what you can do to make it more interesting. Not everything will be perfect the first time around, so don’t be afraid to get feedback from other people!
- You should think about how your characters are going to act and how they would handle difficult situations. Think about what methods you could use to improve them and keep readers interested in their story, as well as the plot that binds them all together.
- Be original with your book, even if you’re writing something similar to a popular series or another author’s work! Think about ways to implement your ideas into your novel or nonfiction book without ripping off other things completely; However, there may be similar aspects, and no two stories should ever be exactly alike.
- When you’re done, ask yourself if it’s worth publishing or if any problems still need to be addressed. Think about how your characters and plot could have been better presented or what changes you can make in the future to improve your writing, no matter how small! Reading your work over will help a lot with this, so don’t skip this step even it seems like it’ll be boring because you could find some real headaches by doing so!
- Remember that where there is a success, there was once failure-if nothing else works, try changing something small and see how that affects people’s opinions on the book. Writers need constant inspiration if they want to make their books worth publishing!
FAQ on publishing your book
How do you convince a publisher to publish your book?
Answer: Find a top publisher and approach them. To impress them, you should be familiar with their previous publications. It is also important to approach them during a good time, like after winning an award or just after coming across some luck in your career. In the end, it all comes down to how professional you can make yourself sound and how much work you have put into your book.
If successful, they will ask for the manuscript or pitch only (cover letter + synopsis).
If your book is nonfiction, write a proposal that includes proposed chapters/sections and a detailed table of contents. Most publishers prefer to consider proposals before seeing complete manuscripts, so it’s important to include an outline of each chapter/section and the proposed length of each.
How do you get a publisher interested in your book?
Answer: Publishers are always looking for fresh ideas within specific genres, so make sure that your idea is original. If you’re looking at self-publishing, this becomes less relevant as you can write in pretty much whatever genre you want. Keep in mind that even if the topic of your book is interesting, publishers usually aren’t interested unless it fits into a popular category they are already publishing within.
Publishers also look for books with a target audience and broad commercial potential (i.e., something that will sell well). To attract publisher interest, make sure that your idea appeals to as wide an audience as possible-if; you have a tiny niche market but manage to hit the big time anyway, all the better for you!
Does it matter who publishes your book?
Answer: Not really. Of course, some imprints are more prestigious than others and thus have a bigger reputation to uphold, so you may want to go with them if you want people to take your work seriously but getting published is all about making sure that as many people read it as possible (as well as getting noticed by reviewers), so don’t let that influence your decision too much.
How do you get an agent interested in representing your book?
Answer: The first thing you need to do is make sure that your book is up to scratch-if it isn’t, the agent will think of you as lazy and uninterested in their business…not exactly the impression you want them to keep of you!
They’ll also probably toss it away without giving it a second glance if your query letter is poorly written, so make sure that you take the time to spell check and look over your work thoroughly – people’s careers can be ruined by one typo (or even an entire manuscript full of them)!
After you’ve done all that, search for agents within your genre/subject area who represent writers with similar backgrounds to yourself. The more specific you are about where they have been published before and what kind of books they usually deal with, the better. Make sure that you highlight any awards or notable successes you may have had along the way as well!
Keep in mind that most publishers won’t accept un-agented submissions due to legal reasons, so unless you’re really confident in your ability to find an agent, it isn’t a bad idea to have one lined up before you send off your work.
What is the primary motivation of agents when choosing manuscripts for their clients?
Answer: The first thing that they will notice about your work is the cover letter. Make sure that it includes all of the relevant information about you and your book as well as any previous successes or awards-if you can start building up an air of professionalism from the very beginning, and you’ll be more likely to get noticed! After this, they will most likely pass on your work to in-house readers who will give feedback on whether or not it’s fun/entertaining enough to draw people in.
What kind of books are publishers looking for?
Answer: Publishers are always looking for fresh ideas within specific genres, so make sure that your idea is original. If you’re looking at self-publishing, this becomes less relevant as you can write in pretty just whatever genre you want. Keep in mind that even if the topic of your book is interesting, publishers usually aren’t interested unless it fits into a popular category they are already publishing within.
Publishers also look for books with a target audience and broad commercial potential (i.e., something that will sell well). In order to attract publisher interest, make sure that your idea appeals to as wide an audience as possible-if you have a tiny niche market but manage to hit the big time anyway, all the better for you!
Which are the best publishers for first-time authors?
All publishing paths are different. There is no one right way to publish a book. That being said, some publishers focus on new authors in fiction and nonfiction. These include:
- Avon Impulse / HarperCollins Publishers / Avon Books (owned by HarperCollins)
- Black & White Publishing / Creative Space
- Coffee House Press / Consortium Books
- Chicago Review Press / C-Ville Books
- Chronicle Books / No Starch Press / Digital Monument Press / Inkwater Books
- DAW (owned by Penguin Random House)
- Entangled Publishing
Some publishers don’t have special programs but generally, work with new authors on a case-by-case basis. These include:
- Atheneum Books for Young Readers / Random House Children’s Books / Random House Kids (owned by Penguin Random House)
- Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins Publishers / HarperTeen
- Bloomsbury Children’s
- Disney-Hyperion / Hachette Book Group
- FSG Books for Young Readers
- Henry Holt and Company / Metropolitan Books (owned by Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings)
- Lerner Publishing Group
- Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / Hachette
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