Freelance authors, you might want to pay attention to this mainstream publishing advice…

There’s little that compares to the feeling of accomplishment that comes with completing the manuscript of a book. However, as every author (freelance or not) knows, that’s just the beginning of the journey, for publication beckons.

Some authors attempt to be more cost effective by choosing an indie route, either through self-publishing or smaller-scale publishers. Then, there are the freelancers who decide to seek mainstream publication – is this your ultimate goal? If so, here’s some advice that could help you avoid potential publishing pitfalls and serious stress.

Remember to research…

At this point, you’re probably exhausted from all those late nights of writing, yet also experiencing an adrenaline work to get your work seen. It’s the latter that can get you into a bit of trouble unless you have a great, understanding agent.

Why? Well, it’s one thing to make a list of mainstream literary agencies/publishers that you’d potentially like to work with, it’s quite another to actually know what each respective company stands for, and if they even accept unsolicited queries in the first place.

It’s a “so many writers, so little time” sort of thing. Do they disregard good work, sight unseen, due to said time constraints and competition? Deplorably, yes. Save yourself from literary limbo by querying first and sending the manuscript later, upon invitation.

What’s that you say? You’d still prefer to eschew the expense of hiring an agent, and you most certainly do plan on submit your manuscripts anywhere and everywhere on your own, thank you very much? OK, well, don’t say I didn’t warn you if you’re met with disappointment – it’s just the nature of the industry, mainstream or otherwise.

Not only do you need to research publishers, you must also research competition/trends in your book’s genre – what’s selling, what’s not in terms of both plots and writing styles. This being said, I have some heartening news for you: if you look long enough, you’ll probably find that there’s an audience for even the most specialized of genres.

Please always be mindful of the world at large and what it needs less of, though. Be an agent of creative change for the better – encourage readers to help, not hurt.

Provide that professional polish…

So, now that we’ve discussed what it might be like to try going mainstream without an agent, let’s focus on pitching work to agents in the hopes that they’ll accept you as a client. Make sure that your manuscript has crafted into a rare gem. By this, I mean that it’s been thoroughly edited/revised with as much precision as you can muster, and then submit it to an agent.

Don’t forget, though, that with or without an agent, you’ll always have to play your part in the marketing process once your book’s been published. After all, people won’t just instinctively know that your book is out there, now will they?

Mainstream means a book tour and interviews (virtual or in-person) can appear more clearly on the horizon. If those options are presented to you, bring your best self to each opportunity. You are the embodiment of your book’s ideas!

Lastly, although it’s necessary to have a strong sense of self-worth in both life and work, don’t take it to the point where you’re supremely self-involved. If you take the “this is clearly going to be a bestseller” approach with any potential agent (or, really, anyone who could take your book to the next level) that’s an immediate formula for getting shown some sort of door.  Be humble, conscientious, polite, and authentic, and you’ll be that much closer to your goal of getting a mainstream publishing deal.

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