How Book Publishing Companies Choose Which Books to Publish

January 23, 2024


So you just finished writing your book. Exciting! But how do you actually get a book publishing company to publish and sell copies of it? Which manuscripts will they think are good enough to publish? We will explain what book editors look for when deciding which new author works they want to invest in and promote.

book publishing services

Make Sure Your Manuscript is High Quality

The first thing good book publishing services look for is a well-written manuscript. Before submitting your book, carefully edit your work to fix errors, improve flow and clarify confusing sections. Strong writing pulls readers into your story. Sloppy manuscripts get rejected right away. Work hard to polish your book so it shows your best writing.

Follow Manuscript Submission Guidelines

Another step to getting a publishing company to select your book is carefully following their manuscript submission rules. Every publisher wants manuscripts sent a certain way - whether by email, through their website portal, or by mail. Submitting correctly shows them you can follow instructions. Formatting your manuscript correctly also makes you look professional. Taking time to do submissions right gives you a better chance.

Grab Attention Fast with A Good Hook

One secret book editors know is that good writing hooks readers right from the start. The first few sentences and paragraphs need to be interesting, pose an intriguing question or show why readers need to know more. Strong opening hooks capture attention fast. Submitted manuscripts usually get just a few pages to impress before an editor decides if a story seems worth reading further.

Build a Compelling Overview

Publishers also want to see that a manuscript has an exciting overview. A short, interesting pitch paragraph in a query letter gives them a snapshot of key details like the genre, length, target audience and what makes a story unique. While editors read samples first, an overview section helps them gauge if a book fits with what their company publishes. Overviews get them invested in learning more.

Share Any Additional Selling Points

Some details beyond just your story content can also help convince a book publishing service to develop your book. Highlighting any special experiences that help qualify you to write on this topic is useful. Mentioning comparable bestselling book titles taps into recognition. Providing realistic early ideas for book marketing and promotion plans shows initiative. Supplying high quality sample illustrations or cover ideas shows you will be an asset too. Go beyond just showcasing your story. Help them visualize the end product.

Show Your Previous Platform and Promotion

Along with great content, book publishers like seeing that an author already has some existing audience reach, followers or media connections to help launch a book. Share details of any previous books you wrote, blogs you run, social media following, websites you own or relevant media coverage. These become building blocks they can use to organize promotions. Larger follower bases definitely capture publisher attention more.

Pick Compatible Publishing Houses

Another key is to target book publishing companies that feel like a good fit for your book concept. If you've written an engineering textbook, don't send it to a children's book publisher. Take time to research companies releasing books similar to your manuscript topic, style and genre. Submit to places already successfully printing books for your target reader. This matters more than size or location. You want an enthusiastic partner who "gets" your book.

Be Patient Through The Process

Finally, one fact to remember is the book submission process takes time at any major book publishing company. Once you submit your polished manuscript to an ideal publisher, plan for many months before hearing back. It has to pass through acquisitions review board meetings on fixed schedules. If they request a partial rewrite, be willing to work with their editors. Adaptability and persistence are key. Many contracts happen on the second or third try.

Showcase Supplementary Material

Savvy authors trying to catch a publisher's eye may also submit supplementary materials beyond just their main manuscript. This additional content visually brings more of your vision to life. For example, including sample illustrations, graphics, or photographs helps showcase potential visual elements. If relevant, adding supplemental information like character profiles, worldbuilding guides, music playlist ideas or special excerpts also helps publishers better picture the full scope of your plans for the book. Extra materials demonstrate your commitment to fleshing out a rich experience readers will love getting immersed in.

Highlight Multi-Book Potential

Another useful strategy is to think about your story as more than just a single book. In your submissions, suggest ideas you have for extending the storyline across multiple future novels. Outline where you envision plotlines and characters growing in future installments. Share notes on spinoff stories set in that same world which could become companion series. Editors always have their eyes open for promising new book universes they might build successful multi-year publishing franchises around. Dangling multi-book potential makes your story concept even more enticing.


The path to getting your book ultimately published starts with submitting a compelling, well-written manuscript to compatible book publishers truly excited by your concept, voice and platform. While there is no guarantee of acceptance, taking time to craft high quality submissions following all guidelines gives you the best shot at standing out from the slush pile. Patience through what can be a lengthy process is critical. With dedication to continual improvement as an author, you increase chances of your next manuscript sparking interest soon!


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