How to Publish a Book in 9 Simple Steps

Scott Allan
February 13, 2024 | 8 mins

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Don’t know how to publish a book successfully? That’s a good problem to have! If you’re wondering, “How do I publish a book?”, it means you’re a small part of the population that has actually finished writing a book. That’s incredible!

Now it’s time to take the next step in your writing career and learn how to publish a book to share your story with readers all around the world. 

There has never been a moment in history that has offered authors so much flexibility in publishing a book and reaching a global market.

Today writers can break the limitations of publishing using technology, course education, and internet networking to learn how to publish a book easily. The publishing process for authors can be broken down into a system of steps for anyone to follow. And that’s exactly what we’ll teach you today.

Warning: Reading this post could make you a bestselling author.

How to publish a book in 9 simple steps

Here are the steps you should follow when learning how to publish a book:

1. Do some genre research

The first step in learning how to publish a book is making sure your book is something publishers will want. And you can ensure this by doing some market research about your genre.

If you aren’t sure what genre you are writing, take a look at our giant list of book genres to check. Once you have that confirmed, it’s important to read widely in your genre to see what is working and what isn’t.

Seeing which books are trending with the public or getting published at the Big 5 publishing houses will help you figure out where your book should fit into the market.

Be careful with book trends. By the time your book hits the shelves, the trend might be over. See if you are at the very beginning of a trend, or stick with some of the genre standards.

2. Finalize your book’s title

If you haven’t decided on a final book title for your completed draft yet, then you’ll want to do this before moving on to the next step of how to publish a book.  

If you’re writing a nonfiction book, your title should be catchy and clearly communicate what your reader will learn from your book. It should include a subtitle as well. 

Here’s an example of one of my nonfiction book titles, which follows a similar structure to other bestselling nonfiction titles: 

Relaunch Your Life: Break the Cycle of Self-Defeat, Destroy Negative Emotions and Reclaim Your Personal Power

For help crafting your nonfiction book title, use our Nonfiction Book Generator, which will help you produce a bestselling title. 

If you’re writing a fiction book, you can be a bit more creative with your title, but you’ll still want it to be relevant to your story.

Don’t get stuck on this step. If you can’t decide on a title, you might need to do more research and check out successful titles from other books that cover content similar to yours. 

You can also crowdsource for book title opinions. Choose your top three title ideas, then have your target readers vote on their favorite one. 

3. Polish your proposal and manuscript

Until you are a well-known author, you won’t be able to get away with just a proposal for a novel. You will need to have a finished manuscript before you contact agents or publishing houses.

If you are writing non-fiction, you may be able to get away with just a proposal (although most memoirists should give a full manuscript as well). Your proposal should include an overview of your book, your author bio, target audience, marketing plan, book outline, and hopefully some sample chapters.

Before you send any information off to publishing houses, you want to make sure your content is polished. Revise and revise again. Literary agents aren’t going to turn a blind eye to a sloppy manuscript or poorly thought-out proposal. Take your time during this step of how to publish a book – you don’t want to turn away a potential agent!

4. Network at writing conferences

If you can afford to attend any writing conferences, then you definitely should. It’s a great chance to network directly with big-name authors and literary agents.

You may also get a chance to practice your pitch and get one-on-one feedback from attending agents or editors. You might. even get some referrals! And, at the very least, attending a conference will help you to improve your craft.

5. Submit query letters to literary agents

If you want to learn how to publish a book with a traditional book deal, then 99 times out of 100 you will need a literary agent.

Some publishers don’t require an agent, but it can be incredibly helpful to have one. They have important relationships that can get your book noticed, and they will know how to help you negotiate a better contract.

Your agent won’t charge you anything upfront, but they will take 15% of your proceeds later. If they can’t sell your book, you won’t have to give them a penny.

For this important step in how to publish a book traditionally, you should:

  • Find agents who represent books in your genre/subject matter
  • Refine your list of target agents
  • Write personalized query letters to each agent
  • Start with just a few query letters so you can learn from your responses before sending more
  • Always follow up with agents

If a literary agent wants to represent your book, they will give you a call. But they could be really busy, and forget to finish reading your manuscript. That’s why it’s important to follow up with them when learning how to publish a book.

You aren’t fully pitching your book at this point, just letting literary agents determine if your book is the right match for them.

If you get an offer, make sure your literary agent has a similar vision for how to revise, market, and publish your book.

6. Send your manuscript to publishers

Once you have a literary agent, they will create a pitch to send to a list of acquiring editors at publishing houses like MacMillan publishers or Penguin Random House. Ideally, your literary agent will already have a relationship with these editors and know what they are looking for.

You have to be patient during this step of how to publish a book. It can take a very long time for a publishing house to choose your book, but don’t give up hope!

It may take many, many months to hear back about your book. Editors only spend time and money on a few books each year, so they may not have the bandwidth to pick your book immediately, even if they like it.

7. Sign a book deal

If an editor wants to work with your book, they will call your literary agent. Your agent will then present their offer to you.

This book deal should include how much money they’ll pay you, the date of publication, and a pro and con list as needed for that publisher. You will then be put in contact with the editor to discuss any necessary revisions to your manuscript. You can also try to negotiate a better contract if you see fit.

You can try to get more money, more control, or retain foreign or film rights. You can also work out how many installments your advance will be in.

You won’t start to see book royalties until you sell enough copies of your book to cover your advance. If your advance was $20,000, you will have to earn $20,000 in book sales before you start to receive any royalties.

8. Get your book into pre-production

This step of how to publish a book is an absolute whirlwind. So take a deep breath. There are a lot of moving pieces when your book gets to the pre-production stage. You will need to negotiate and work on your cover design, your book marketing plan, send out advance reader copies to your launch team, and give your manuscript a final proofread.

Luckily, your agent will help you to field the chaos of the production process. You are almost there!

9. Sign your new books!

Leading up to launch day, your publisher will send you a box of books to sign. You’ll likely also be asked to do interviews for TV, radio, or blogs. And you’ll also start getting reviews from people who you sent our advance reader copies to.

At this point, you can bask in all the glory and excitement of knowing you have successfully learned how to publish a book!

Ace the publishing author journey

Now that you know how to publish a book, your journey is just beginning. 

The next step is to start marketing and selling even more books and building a sustainable author business.  

A huge part of building your career as an author is in writing multiple bestsellers, so it’s time to get started on your next book-writing adventure. 

There are many books that people are begging authors just like you to write…so get busy!

If you are having trouble with how to publish a book traditionally, you might also consider learning how to self-publish a book. Anyone can do it, and you won’t have to wait around for a literary agent or publishing house to swoop you up. If you want help learning how to self-publish, the team at is happy to assist you at every step along the way.

Just book a free, no-obligation strategy call with our team today to see how we can help you turn your dream book into a reality.

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