It’s no secret that writing a book is hard work. But what’s even harder is getting that book published and onto the shelves of your favorite bookstore. In order to maximize your chances of success, it’s important to take some preliminary steps before sending your manuscript off to publishers. Here are six vital steps you need to take before getting your book on the shelf:

Step One: Research

The first thing you need to do is gain an understanding of what publishers are looking for. By doing your research, you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly which publishers will best match your manuscript. This can be done by either looking at books that are selling well and seeing what publisher they were published with or examining the publishing requirements for your book category on Amazon.

Furthermore, you also want to research the target audiences of these publishers and identify which ones would benefit most from your particular topic. For example, you probably wouldn’t send a biography of Julius Caesar to an urban street fiction publisher.

Step Two: Think About Self Publishing

Before you send your manuscript off to publishers, consider self-publishing. Currently, there’s a boom in self-publishing and it has the potential to be the best thing that ever happened for writers who want to get their work out there but can’t find a traditional publisher. Not only do you get total control over your manuscript and the decision to publish, but you can also reap all the profits from your sales. It can easily be said that the benefits of publishing your own book have never been greater. You can now design, edit, produce and even distribute your own book. All you need is the manuscript, patience to put in the work, and marketing know-how to get the word out there.

Step Three: Get an Agent

If self-publishing isn’t for you and you’re not finding a publisher that matches your manuscript, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll never find one. If your book is good and has commercial appeal, it’s still possible to get a major publisher on board if you can get an agent. Not only do agents know everything there is to know about the book industry, but they also have relationships with publishers and knowledge of their tastes so they’ll be able to match you with one that fits.

However, it’s important to understand that getting an agent is no guarantee of success. In fact, most authors are rejected by agents and publishers. At the end of the day, writing a brilliant manuscript is just one aspect of getting your book published.

Step Four: Hone Your Skills

The next step is to make sure that what you’ve written is your absolute best work before you start shopping it around to agents and publishers. Although it’s not necessary, honing your writing chops will put you in a better position than those that aren’t as skilled. You may even want to consider taking some courses or attending conferences where the publishing industry is explored and discussed. Just because self-publishing is increasing doesn’t mean traditional publishing will disappear anytime soon. If you can prove yourself to be an expert in your field, you will most likely find a publisher interested in what you have to say.

Step Five: Revise and Polish

Finally, the most important thing you can do before submitting your manuscript to publishers or self-publishing it is to revise and polish it. Many first drafts are plagued by typos, grammatical errors, and misspellings which prevent publishers from taking them seriously. If you can’t even be bothered to read through your manuscript a few times before submitting it, why should a publisher? Thus, make sure you take some time to go back over your manuscript and completely perfect it.

Step Six: Don’t Give Up

If you’ve been shopping your manuscript around to publishers, agents, and self-publishing companies without any luck, don’t give up hope. Publishing is a slow-moving industry that isn’t built for everyone. In fact, some authors only find success after years of hard work and persistence. However, if you believe in your book it will happen. It may take a while, but the best things in life never come easy.

Publishing a book is an arduous process that requires patience, persistence, and dedication. It can be difficult to get your manuscript noticed by agents or publishers so it’s important to do whatever you can in order to make sure the writing is flawless before sending it out. One way of achieving this goal is through revision and polishing which should take place anytime before submitting your work for publication consideration. If all else fails, don’t give up! There are many ways authors find success even after years of hard work and rejection from publishing companies.