How to get published

Step 1 Complete the book

It is important to realise that finishing your book takes a significant amount of effort. It requires your perseverance and hard work.


Once you have finished writing your book, take a short break and review your work from the beginning. You need to edit out any grammatical or spelling errors, check for consistency in your writing and continuity in your narrative. We then recommend giving it to someone else to look over with a fresh pair of eyes. Consider their feedback and rewrite as necessary, and repeat the process. You will be surprised how many small mistakes will be identified during this process.


To give your book the best chance, ensure you make improvements and complete your book.

Step 2 Choose the type of publishing that’s right for you

Every person is different! Self-publishing is great for those who want to test the waters, first time authors or people who are considering taking that step into the world of books. With self-publishing you will usually retain the publishing rights for your work, meaning you can still submit to other publishers should you wish.


Traditional publishers, or Hybrid publishers like us, are wonderful for those who need the professional help and guidance throughout the publishing process, as you will have the support of a publisher behind you. There are huge benefits of this: publishing houses have links with many book stores and media outlets, they will usually do some marketing for you and have many accounts with wholesalers and databases where your book will be added. You also get the added support of arranging for events and book launches across their network including bookshops like Waterstones.


Publishing on Kindle is also another option if you would like to get your book out to the public as quickly as possible. Many choose to do this before they take their work to a publishing house, so they have an idea of what publishing consists of.


Prioritise the elements that are important to you and then choose the publishing method that’s right for you. Some elements to consider:

  • Publishing rights
  • Royalty percentage
  • The time it takes to be published
  • Cost of publishing, printing and distributing books
  • Cost of producing a book
  • Level of expertise required


A great place to start is by first gathering information of different methods of publishing and making a comparison chart. Once you have the information in front of you, it is easier to make decisions.

Step 3 Prepare what you need to submit

Some publishers/ agents ask for samples first, so make sure you’ve picked out a great taster. This could be the start of your work, or some chapters that you feel show off your manuscript best.  


Other things to think about are cover letters – these are excellent to give some vital information to the submissions team. Key things to add to this are the genre, your own biography and a book synopsis. Mention if you have your own website or social media accounts, as social media is a great way to build an audience and keep your family and friends informed on what’s to come.


Perhaps think about setting up an email address just for your career as an author – that way you’re not looking through personal emails, subscriptions and so on, you can just have one place for all things related to your book.

Step 4 Submit to publishers/ agents

If you’re happy to submit to a publishing house/agent, they will usually set out some guidelines. For example, they may prefer a certain font or have limits relating to the word count. The requirements for each publishing house/ agent may be different. Carefully read and prepare your work for submission based on these requirements. You can usually find the information on what the publisher/ agent is looking for on their website.


Finally, publishing houses usually say what the average response time is, so before you think of sending a reminder email, check this information. If you have been given a time frame of 4-6 weeks you should contact the publisher after six weeks, not after four.

Step 5 Be patient

Some publishers can take months to get through their submissions, as the review process can take some time. At Olympia, it can take up to six weeks to get back to our authors. Every publishing house is different, don’t feel like you’re being ignored. It can take some time. While you’re waiting it would be a great idea to make some mind maps of what you would like to come from your book. You can start thinking about cover ideas.


While it’s okay to ask for an update if it has gone past the stated time, pestering publishers does not mean your work will be reviewed any faster. Be patient, it goes a long way.  

Step 6 Offers, rejection & keep submitting

It’s rare for an author not to experience any rejections. Keep submitting to agents and publishers, and take on board any feedback that you receive for your work. Keep improving and keep submitting, getting a book published can sometimes take months and occasionally years. Do not give up and do not be disheartened.


Still, if you find that no agent or publisher is interested in taking on your work, consider putting it on the back burner and start working on the next project. Unfortunately, rejection is part of this process, we try our best to give constructive feedback to our authors to help them improve their work for a better chance of success next time they submit.


Some people are lucky to receive an immediate yes! Although this is very rare. Take J.K. Rowling for a famous example – 17 rejections. Never give up!

Step 7 Working with your publisher

Your publisher has taken you on because they believe in you and your work. During the publishing process your publisher and production team will be working to edit your book, proof-read your book for mistakes and grammar issues, create a cover and blurb to go with it, all while talking to you to create a marketing and publicity plan. A lot of hard work and dedication goes into publishing a book. If you work with your publisher you will achieve the best results, as you are both working to achieve the same goal. If you’re difficult to deal with from the start then it is likely that you will be rejected and the agent/ publisher will simply move on to the next opportunity.

Step 8 Publication

Once your book has been cooked to perfection and sent off to be printed – the production process is finished! The really exciting part now starts. Your book is in your hands and the promotion will begin.  Get involved in marketing your book. Engage with your readers and take on every publicity opportunity that comes your way. Don’t be shy - you are now a published author!


Host your book events and get involved in promoting your book, there is no one else who can do this job better than you. Publishing houses will be your support system, however it is you that will host the events and interviews as the author of the book. This is also a great contributor towards the success of your book sales.

Final thoughts

Publishing is not always positive, it can be a long process with the occasional bump along the way for some. Take this time to write your next book, it will help you cope with the highs and lows of the publication process. By the time your first book is published you will have already written your next one!


While it’s always good to go into this with a positive outlook, it’s equally important to be realistic.


Your work being published does not guarantee its success, and for every success story there are a dozen books that haven’t performed well. While we attempt to put our books in the best possible position, we cannot guarantee their success.


Ultimately, publishing can make dreams come true, start careers and change lives – not just for the author but the readers too! It’s a long journey, but just think about how satisfying it is to hold your own book in your hands, to hear someone who has read your work tell you how much they enjoyed it, that they took the time to spend hours reading your creation, to see your book on the shelf in your favourite bookshop, to go online and see reviews on all the major websites for your book! Nothing beats that feeling.