Life of Pi, The Help, Twilight, War of the Worlds, The Notebook, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Da Vinci Code, and countless others. All books that were rejected by several, sometimes even dozens, of publishers before becoming insanely successful. If your book is truly destined for publishing, you will get it published eventually. You just have to make sure you know how to correctly send your manuscript to publishers.
Step one is to finish your book. While you are writing, don’t worry about selling, agents, book tours, or anything like that. Of course, you can daydream about it all you want, but your first priority should be to have a finished copy sitting in front of you before you contact anyone to publish the work.
Next, you must know your own work. Create an elevator pitch—a description that is short enough to fit on the back cover or the inside sleeve of your still nonexistent book. If this is not intriguing enough to grab readers in your mind, rework it so it is.
Also, do your research on the market. Look at publishers that publish the genre that you have written. If you do not have a set genre, at least try to fit it in an already-created one. Publishers have a hard time selling the next horror/sci-fi/romance/period piece.
When you find the right fit(s) for your writing, follow the submission directions exactly. If it says to send the first 30 pages, do not send the entire manuscript. If they say to print the pages on white 8½ by 11 paper, do not send a huge stack of highlighter yellow pages to stand out. Always send a SASE (self-addressed/stamped envelope) along with your proposal. If you don’t send the SASE you will not get a response.
Then you wait. If you are accepted, congratulations! If not, don’t worry. This is completely normal. Just ask J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, and Nicholas Sparks. Don’t take the rejection too personally. Instead, use the feedback, if any is given, to improve your work. This is just a chance to send the story out to more publishers.
I’ll leave you with a poignant quip from Yvonne Pierre, author of The Day My Soul Cried:
“Don’t be discouraged if people don’t see your vision, your harvest. All they see from their perspective is that you’re watering a whole lot of dirt. They don’t see what seeds you’ve been planting with blood, sweat, tears and lack of sleep. Make sure you don’t abandon or neglect it because “they” don’t see it. You have to know and believe for yourself. They don’t see the roots and what’s budding under the dirt.”