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Traditional Publishing (PART 1): Who Are the Key Players?

It’s been a while! As always, I have been busy with life, writing, and much more.

I’m happy to officially announce a book I am working on called Show Don’t Tell is NOT the Golden Rule. This book is a no-nonsense guide for writers of all levels. It includes all the best tips I have learned over the years. Best of all, this book will walk you through ALL steps of the writing process—from the blank page to the finished product. And YES, I mean the finished finished product. You will learn the different routes to publishing (self-publishing, hybrid publishing, and traditional publishing, too).

It addresses good cover design as well, so if you don’t have a professional designer on hand or a budget to hire one, you can make your own good-looking product at home. :) I am so excited to get this book in your hands, hopefully sometime late next year.

So without further ado, I am happy to give you an eight-part sneak peek into Show Don’t Tell is NOT the Golden Rule. These chapters are an exclusive look into the section of my book that addresses the traditional publishing route and how to approach it.



Whenever I talk about writing and my goals of traditional publishing, people look at me sideways. I found, over time, that many people (especially writers) had no idea what traditional publishing entailed. So this first chapter will be a breakdown of all the important terms you will need to know about traditional publishing.


Traditional publishing refers to publishing a book through a large (or sometimes small) publishing house. The most well-known publishing houses during the writing of this book are the “Big Five.” The Big Five are Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, MacMillan, Penguin Random House, and Hachette Book Group. Many large publishing houses have a procedure for acquiring new manuscripts. This means most times, you cannot submit your book directly to the publishing house. Some smaller publishers will accept unsolicited manuscripts (manuscripts that are not represented by a literary agent).


As a broad overview, here is what you will need to do. (Each of these steps will be elaborated in the following chapters.)

First, you will need to get all your pitch material prepared. This includes a completed manuscript (or for non-fiction, a book proposal), a query letter, a synopsis, your first pages (amount will be determined by the literary agent you query), a business card, a website, and an oral elevator pitch (also called a logline).

Next, you will need to research literary agents. You should look for a literary agent who represents the kind of work you write. More on how to find a literary agent will be included in a later chapter. Literary agents will work on your behalf to sell your book through their contacts and reputation in the publishing industry. Literary agents do not make a penny until they sell your work, so they are highly selective with new projects they take on.

Once you find an agent you think would be a good fit for your work, you will query that agent. This will either be done via online submission, email, or snail mail. To query an agent, you will send your query letter, synopsis, and first few pages per each agent’s request.

Then, things are mostly out of your hands. Prepare yourself for many rejections. If you do have an agent offer you representation, the ball is in their court. Your literary agent will seek out an editor who suits your work. Editors work within the publishing houses and often decide what will get published.

If your agent lands a sale, the terms of your book deal will be outlined in a contract. Once the contract is negotiated and signed, production is completed “in-house,” which means the publishing house is responsible for all the rest.[[ More on contracts?]] (This includes copyediting, proofreading, developmental edits, interior design, and cover design.)

Now that you’ve been introduced to the larger picture, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.


Traditional Publishing Blogs

PART 1: Who Are The Key Players?

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