Yesterday I recevied an email from a stranger.
It was sent from someone I've never heard of before nor been in contact with.
The email was obviously from someone looking for a publisher for their novels.
So you'd think that they'd send the most impressive email, wouldn't you?
The reason for me divulging this email is to show you how not to approach a publisher and then I'll explain how to do it the right way, no matter which publisher you want to contact.
Firstly, I'll show you the email as I received it, but with the names of the novels and the author's name and personal details removed.
So here's what I received:
"Since 2007 I wrote five books and all appear
My sixth book, details attached, will be printed
by the end of this month and will be advertised,
also on amazon, either December or early Jan.
I am looking for a trade-stream line publisher, who
undertakes to print, on his own account, as many
copies as can distributes and sells:
all or any of these three tittles:"
That is the whole email apart from the names of the novels and the authors details.
Can you see what is wrong with this email?
Firstly there is no introduction to explain who the author is.
Secondly, it is full of bad grammar and bad spelling.
The first sentence reads "Since 2007 I wrote five books." Surely any serious writer would know to write "Since 2007 I have written five books."
Another thing wrong with the first sentence is that the author states that the books are already published. The only self published books that publishers are interested in are books that are already best sellers or potential best sellers. These books clearly aren't.
How can I tell that his books aren't best sellers?
Because if they were the author would be promoting them as such.
In the second sentence the author states that his next book is already going to print and will be published soon.
So what does he need a publisher for if he already plans to self publish his next book?
The final paragraph explains it.
The author is looking for someone to generate more sales for them. Not only that, but they want the publisher to print the books "on his own account" which I assume means the author wants the work done for them.
And what the heck is a "trade-stream line publisher"?
Obviously the author is trying to use jargon without knowing what they are talking about so their words end up as jibber-jabber.
The author ends by calling their books "tittles" instead of "titles."
So can you see what's wrong with this approach of contacting a publisher?
And if the email itself isn't bad enough, the promised "details attached" of their new novel was merely an image of the cover.
So there is another problem.
The author wants a publisher to print and market their books while at the same time (presumably) the author is also selling copies AND they want all this done while offering nothing but a copy of the book cover of evidence of how great their work is.
Not only that, but had they taken just a minute or less to visit my publishing website and clicked on the "submissions" link which is at the bottom of every single page, they would have seen that I'm not accepting submissions AND that I have never ever accepted submissions by email.
Would you want to do business with this person?
Clearly they are nuts.
You cannot send a random email that is badly typed, full of spelling and grammatical errors, demanding terms and conditions while at the same time making it clear that you have absolutely no idea about how to contact a publisher or how the publishing process works.
Authors don't choose publishers. Publishers choose authors.
And anyone who cannnot string a few coherent sentences together in an email, cannot possibly find a publishing company willing to publish an already published novel and do it all on the author's dictated terms.
I'll bet everything I own that this author will never find a publisher willing to give them a contract based on this non-impressive, crazy email.
No doubt publishers will do exactly as I did with it.
Report it as spam and delete it.
Why did I report it as spam?
Because it is.
It's obviously an email that has been sent to countless publshing companies that the author found on a list somewhere.
They didn't even bother to check any submission guidelines or learn anything about the publishing business.
Instead they simply wrote a quick email and sent it out hoping that they will get rich from it.
That makes it an unsolicited commercial email.
If you're thinking of approaching a publishing company, do it the right way.
Go to their website and see if they're looking for submissions, what they're looking for, what they want you to send (an outline, a couple of chapters, a proposal) and how they want it sent.
If they state that you need to submit by email only, just do that. If they want files sent as attachments, attach them. If they want them sent as inline text, insert them into the email.
If they want posted submissions only, send your work by post. But only send what they're asking for. If they don't want a cover letter, don't include one.
No publishing company will work with an author who cannot follow simple instructions (or is too arrogant to follow instructions) of how to submit files.
Find a list of publishing companies or do a Google search, and read the submission guidelines of each publisher.
And as a word of warning, be careful about doing business with publishing companies whose websites seem more about getting authors to publish their books with them rather than selling books. If the home page of their website isn't about what great books they sell, my advice is run a mile.
These type of companies are usually looking for authors to pay to have their work "published" and I use quote marks because publishing this way usually means that all the publisher will do is add the book to their online catalogue and that's all.
You can do the same thing for free if you use Amazon's CreateSpace publishing platform.
Look for a publishing company that is all about selling books and read their submission guidelines and follow them to the max.
And be ready for rejections. Most authors receive enough of them to wallpaper their entire house.
Just remember that rejections don't necessarily mean that your work is not good. Only that it wasn't suitable at the time for what the publisher was looking for.
Don't let it discourage you and if you want to, you can always self publish your book and then get on with writing the next one and the next one and the next one.
I wish you well in all your publishing and self publishing endeavours.
Learn everything you need to know about how to publish every book you write at http://selfpublishworldwide.com.
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