1-877-859-7483 [email protected]

The Traditional Publishing Path – How To Get Signed To A Publishing Company

by | Jul 17, 2013 | Self vs Traditional | 11 comments

 The Traditional Publishing Path - How To Get Signed To A Publishing Company

As the CEO of Write One Publications, Inc. I’m often asked what publishers are looking for in an author and whether the traditional publishing path is best. I can’t speak definitively for other publishing companies but here’s a general idea of what appeals to publishing companies and what you need to do to successfully maneuver the traditional publishing path.

5 Tips For The Traditional Publishing Path


1. A good story – This is a given but it has to be said. In order to capture the attention of an agent or a publishing company, you need to have a well written story with a great plot and strong characters. If you can attempt a story in a way that no one else has, that’s definitely a plus. I particularly enjoy stories that have integral plot twists and I’m drawn to stories that are plot driven.

2. A marketing angle – If you can present a well written story that already has a marketing angle, you are ahead of the game. What do I mean by a marketing angle? Take for example my signee, author Bernice Harris’ non-fiction Pull Your Pants Up and be a man! The title alone has a marketing angle and when she presented the title to me, my mind instantly started reeling with marketing ideas. Make it easy for the publishing company to visualize how they can get your title out to the masses! There are a million romance novels, what makes yours stand out?

3. Follow the submission guidelines – With most small publishing companies, authors can submit their manuscript directly to the company. Whereas bigger publishing companies require submissions through agents.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been included on mass emails of manuscript submissions to other publishing companies, received full manuscripts without a prior request, or received a manuscript when my website states I’m not accepting submissions.

Please know that guidelines are created for a reason. It explains to the author exactly what genres the publisher is looking to publish and how they’d like to receive the synopsis/manuscript. How To Write A Book In Word

When an author submits to me and it is expressly clear they haven’t read my submission guidelines, it makes me feel as though they’ve done absolutely no perusing of my submission guidelines or done research on my publishing company.

Think of it as a job interview. When asked – what do you know about my company? What will your response be?

4. A fan base and/or social media presence – For me this is very important. Being a new author, I know how much time it takes to create a fan base and a solid social media presence. With knowing that, I would be more attracted to an author who has already established themselves either through blogging, vlogging, or a social media site like Twitter or Facebook. For me, this is not a numbers game because I realize that 1000 Twitter followers does not equate to 1000 fans. Instead I would look at the interaction between the writer and their followers, stats for their blog, etc.

Seeing an author take time from their writing to be present on social media sites and take an active stance on the success of their writing career, would definitely peak my interest.

5. Dedication – I think I’ve preached a lot on my blog about marketing being just as much the responsibility of the writer as it is the publishing company. Publishers are looking for a writer that is dedicated to having an online presence, marketing their title themselves, doing interviews and book signings, and being proactive without overstepping the publisher. Basically, publishers are looking for writers who realize that collectively they are a team and will work together with the publishing company in their own best interest.

Who The Traditional Publishing Path Is For!


The traditional publishing path is for the author that is looking for the support of a publishing company to help them with book marketing, publicity, promotion and signings. The publishing company will pay you an advance on your royalties and will distribute your book to stores and online retailers. Once the company has recouped the advance, you will then be paid royalties. While you will definitely have the publishing company’s help, the traditional publishing path still requires you to put in work. If a built in team works better for you, the traditionally publishing path may be the best route for you.

Based on what I’ve mentioned above, do you feel you are ready to pursue the traditional publishing path? Please share in the comment section below.

NEXT: Traditional Publishing Path – 3 Tips For Querying A Publisher

The Traditional Publishing Path - How To Get Signed To A Publishing Company


  1. MzGrammyBear

    Very interesting! Informative n set some things straight! I’ll be the first to admit, I’m still learning! ;-)..I infact did read your guidelines, that’s why I’m patiently waiting and of course #stillamwriting

    • Stefanie

      Haha you're so diligent!

  2. Melissa

    Well, once I'm finished with all the re-writing, I'll be ready. I do learn new things about publishing every day but reading publishing guidelines is crucial, so I definitely agree with you. That's just showing the publisher respect.

    I'm really working on building my "following" and online presence more and more each day. I know that from my blog, people have already asked to read my book. I'm dedicated towards my characters and what my book is about. Within time, people will read it and feel for those characters as much as I do. 🙂

    • Stefanie

      Also, I think reading the publishing guidelines and perusing the publisher's site gives you an idea if they are truly the best fit for you. When I was interviewing for jobs in Corporate America many years ago, I felt as if I were interviewing them too. I wanted to be just as happy with them as they were with me. It's a two way street. So I encourage writers to take this time while they are writing to figure out exactly what companies would be the best fit for them and their title.

      What's your blog?

  3. Tyson Gautreaux

    That’s actually a wonderful post ! Added to my favourite blogs checklist.. I have been reading your web site final couple of weeks and get pleasure from each and every bit. Thanks.

    • Stefanie

      Thanks Tyson! I appreciate you stopping by.

  4. Synithia

    I’m ready, but as you pointed out I’m researching publishers. I’ve also entered some competitions and submitted short stories. I’d like to have some publishing credentials under my belt before querying.

    • Stefanie

      Sounds great! Make sure you update us as to how things are coming along!

  5. cynthia

    Thanks for a lot of information you are putting out there for writes like me that have no clue..lol

    • Stefanie

      You're welcome!Sent from my iPhone