How to Get a Novel Published

Novels are no longer just for fiction buffs. They’re a way of life, and in this article, I’ll explain how to successfully get your novel published.

The “how to get a book published for the first time” is a question that has been asked many times. The process of getting your novel published can be difficult, but it is possible.

Vintage man in living room writing on typewriter.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is an annual book-writing activity that unites professional and amateur authors from all over the globe together to create a novel.

NaNoWriMo challenges participants to produce a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. It’s a legitimate competition with cash rewards and recognition. More than 310,000 individuals and 89,500 pupils participated in the program last year.

We love masculine fiction here at Art of Manliness, and we’ve already covered the basics of how to write a book.

What we haven’t spoken about is how difficult the job may be. It isn’t simple. But it is possible.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever considered writing a book?

I mean, a really fantastic book that begins with Call Me Ishmael, obtains a commercial publishing deal, inspires people, and hopefully sells out for the next 20 years or more?

Here’s some good news: it is possible. You also don’t have to participate in NaNoWriMo in order to accomplish it. If you wish to create a book, I’d advise you to do so. Write it in your own time and style. Fill it with your blood. Many people find out how to accomplish it. Why don’t you try it?

However, I would warn you to expect a lot of realism. Fiction is more difficult to publish than factual books because commercial publishing is a mercenary industry. At best, publishing fiction is a long shot, and there are no foolproof strategies that can ensure your success.

As a result, I provide a strange kind of encouragement. I’d send two messages to anybody thinking about creating a novel: “you can do it” and “beware.” True, practically anybody can write and publish a book, but there is a heavy price to pay for doing so, and you must be prepared for it. If I told you differently, I’d be doing you a disservice.

One of the major issues is that many individuals believe that the actual writing of the book is the only war they would have to fight throughout the process. However, the writing represents just approximately a fourth of what is required. The battle to have your work published begins in the second quarter. The next quarter will be spent tirelessly promoting your book after it is out, which is something that publishers demand you to do these days.

After your book sales fail terribly, you’ll be sad, poor, and visionless, and madly envious of John Grisham, James Patterson, Ken Follett, and Lee Child—pretty much the only four male scribblers who really earn money at this game—you’ll spend the last quarter in primal scream therapy.

If you still want to compose your own devastating work of startling talent, here’s how to get started on that good and tortuous path. The “5 outrageously tough but essential stages” to producing a professionally successful book are what I call them.


1. Commit to a timetable that is unsustainable.

You won’t be able to find the time.

You have to make the time.

In 2003, I published my first book. It took a year for me to finish it. By that time, I had a wife, a kid, and a mortgage, and I was working 40 hours a week at a newspaper while moonlighting as a book editor for a publishing house at night. However, I was determined to write my own book.

So that’s what I did.

I just finished it.

I wrote in the evenings and on weekends. I spent my rare free time playing with my kid, kissing my wife, and going to work, where I continued to write until my book was done.

In the writing profession, at least when you’re starting out, that kind of unsustainable schedule is common. You’re not going to be able to keep that schedule for the rest of your life. For a season or two, though, any guy can do it.

Elmore Leonard, the brilliant author, worked as an ad man while writing his debut book. He scribbled the whole thing longhand while working with one hand in his desk drawer.

That is all that is required. No one will give you the benefit of the doubt. You must make time for yourself.

2. Attract the attention of a literary agency.

You’ll need to court a literary agent, who will represent your book to publishing firms, after your work is written and polished.

Because agents can’t be employed, I say “wow.” Not respectable ones, at least. Agents only get money if and when they sell your book to acquisition editors, therefore they must certainly fall in love with it first. They must feel your book will be profitable. Their jobs are on the line.

You may email or contact agents to pitch your novel and see if they’re interested, but this is difficult since professional agencies already represent a large number of writers.

Attending a literary conference is one of the finest methods to locate an agent. Find a reliable regional conference near you by searching online. There, you’ll encounter agents face to face, making it more difficult for them to shut the door in your face.

Even yet, courting an agent is difficult. It’s possible that attending the conference will cost you a thousand dollars if you take in transportation, food, and lodging charges. That’s money you probably don’t have on hand, so you’ll have to prioritize and make sacrifices. Not to mention the fact that you’ll be competing with 500 other individuals for an agent’s attention during the conference. Even so, finding an agent is possible.

At a writer’s convention in California, I met my first agency. He offered to represent my work on the strength of a handshake, but warned me not to call him to check on the status of the process since he was so busy all the time. I didn’t hear anything from him after three months, so I summoned the courage to call. By that time, he’d changed agencies and had entirely forgotten about me.


I went with someone else from the conference, my second pick. He looked for a buyer for my book in New York but couldn’t locate one, so he let me out of our exclusivity agreement.

Another writer’s conference, this time in Seattle, was on my itinerary. I found another agency, who told me straight out that I was a top-tier writer, but that my work wasn’t commercial enough to improve or sell. He asked if I would want to work on a book with another author until I could finish my own manuscript. I needed money, so I agreed.

Simon & Schuster bought the novel. That meant a mark of success, as well as some solid money, although a different kind of success than I’d anticipated.

See, I’d made some solid contacts and gotten a cover credit on a bigger book. But I don’t have a book of my own. And if you want to publish your own book, you’ll need one!

3. If your first book fails, write a sequel.

In 2005, I finished a second manuscript and sent it to yet another agency. (At the time, I was on my fourth agency, since the prior one had gone out of business.) The language and pace were appreciated by this agency, but the narrative was a mess, according to him. He suggested putting it aside and beginning afresh.

It was difficult to learn that my second book was a dud, but it didn’t hurt as much as it might have. By that time, I’d left the newspaper and was working full-time as a freelance collaborative writer and editor in the book industry, so I felt like I was making progress toward my goal.

In 2007, I presented my agent the first five chapters of a third book that I had written. It was an experimental sci-fi thriller that received positive feedback from early readers, but my agent despised it. As I previously said, an agent places his reputation and business on your shoulders. He won’t bother attempting to sell your work to acquisition editors if he doesn’t believe he can.

Writing more than one book when the first doesn’t sell may seem like a lot of effort, but it’s really rather frequent.

If you look up any great author on Wikipedia, you’ll find something along the lines of, “[Dude with three names] wrote three unpublished novels until [hipster title] was ultimately published.” It was on the New York Times bestseller list for 15 years and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.”

Neither the writings themselves, nor the misery and effort involved in the discarding process, are recalled from those first unpublished books. They’re just an unavoidable part of the experience.

4. Read all of the novel-writing method books you can get your hands on – ideally first.

If you’re clever, you’ll start with this step. However, if you already believe you’re a terrific writer, like I did when I first began writing professionally, you’ll waste a lot of time creating a lot of books. Then, if everything else fails, you’ll have no choice but to go back and read the how-to books.


How-to books can teach you about the intricacies of novel writing. Techniques for plot development. Dialogue. Pacing. Genres that are popular. Minimum and maximum word counts. How to write a novel that follows a tried-and-true three-act framework.

For starters, try these three classic how-to books:

  • McKee’s story
  • Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer
  • Snyder’s Save the Cat

You’ll have to read a lot more than these. However, they will get you started.

Even then, it’s not a foregone conclusion. From 2008 through 2011, I read all of these novels and more, then created one more novel, a military thriller. It was a hit with the early readers. It was considered commercially feasible by my agent. We sent it to Penguin, my nonfiction publisher, who passed because they loved the writing but not the topic, and then we offered it to a few other publishers who said the same thing.

So I put the manuscript away in a drawer and thought about it for a time. It was a fine book, but not a great novel, because you have to be better than good in this profession.

It’s still tucked away in the drawer.

5. Decide whether or not you wish to continue.

Maybe as a youngster, you fantasized of being an astronaut or playing in the NBA. You’d been going in that route for a long time. You worked hard, made sacrifices, and gave it your all, yet you’re still not living the life of your dreams. So, what exactly do you do? Do you persevere or give up?

It may seem like that while you’re writing a book. In the ultra-competitive world of writing, perseverance does not always pay off.

So maybe there is a third option. You redefine success as giving it your best and enjoying the ride, even though you may never get at your desired goal. That’s admirable.

Perhaps you need to take a break from your present project for a bit to refresh your perspective and reimagine everything. Perhaps you should concentrate on your family and day work and make the most of the sunshine while it lasts.

I, for one, decided to give it one more go. One final Hail Mary shot, make-or-break, bleeding and desperate.

I made the time to write the book on my own. It was written by myself. It was modified by me. The manuscript was well received by my agency. We shopped it around and ultimately got a commercial publisher, which was the mother of all successes.

This one was successful!

The book passed through the publisher’s gears once the contract and advance were received, and ultimately went to print. I waited roughly a year from manuscript submission to publication, and the book is now on shop shelves. The novel is well-received by readers. It’s a quick, enjoyable book that encourages them—which is really nice to hear as an author.

My first book, Feast For Thieves, was released in September of this year. Combination in 1946 and partially based on a real tale, it follows an incorrigible elite paratrooper who returns home from WWII, turns his life around, and must survive a year as a preacher in a backwater Texas hamlet due to a weird set of circumstances.


It received a positive review from Publishers Weekly. So did one of O’Reilly’s finest features writers (the Oprah Magazine). The writer-in-residence at Oxford University felt the same way. So far, more than 90 Amazon reviewers have agreed.

This is a book I’m quite proud of. I’m quite proud of you. I’m not going to get wealthy or famous as a result of it. Nonetheless, there’s something very rewarding about it all.

Is it something I’d do again?

My own experience demonstrates how difficult it is to publish a book. As a result, I send a mixed message of encouragement and caution to anybody thinking about doing the same.

In retrospect, I believe that publishing a book required much too much effort. A colossal amount of effort. If this is the path you choose, I pray your trip is not as long as mine.

Nonetheless, I succeeded in the end.

And if you’re genuinely willing to put in a lot of effort, you can, too.

How long have you been pursuing your dream?

How long have you been pursuing your dream?

Marcus Brotherton contributes to Art of Manliness as a writer.

Feast For Thieves, his first book, is a must-read.



Watch This Video-

The “how to get a book published uk” is a guide for those who want to publish their work. It includes tips on how to find an agent, how to write the perfect query letter, and what publishers are looking for these days.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get your first book published?

A: It is best to start with writing your story and submitting it to publishing houses. If you do not have a publisher, self-publishing can be done through different websites like Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

How do first time authors get published?

A: This is a difficult question. There are many ways to get published, but the most common way would be to have a friend or family member who already has books in print publish your work through them. Alternatively, you can self-publish with Amazons CreateSpace program where they will charge $0 for some time and let you sell whatever copies of your book that people want at their cost if it makes enough money for them. Finally, there are subscription services such as Book Bub which deliver free 5 star reviews on any book submitted by an author/contributor within 30 days of submitting it themselves

What are the odds of getting a novel published?

A: There are many factors that affect the odds of getting a novel published. A good publisher is already likely to be more willing than most authors and their agent would have reasons for why this might not work out, but there are some basic rules that help you get started. You should also know what your end goal is in terms of publishing before you approach an agent or publisher with your idea.

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