My friend and I are writing a fictional book, it is directed towards teenagers. We are in the very beginning of writing the book. We have just finished laying down the plot and we did tons of research for different characters. We’re hoping to get it published but are very confused on actually how to get it published. We were hoping for it to be published by Scholastic but we don’t even know how to offer the idea to them. I would very much appreciate if you would tell us how to get a suitable publisher and how to actually confront them with our book.
Congratulations on your tremendous progress with your first book. Regardless of the outcome, it’s great that you and your friend have figured out a single topic, done the research and are starting to do the homework of figuring out how to attain your goal of being published!
Now, the bad news. It’s tough, really tough, to be published and for every book that’s in print, there are a dozen that aren’t worthy of print, and for every hundred in print, maybe one squeeze out enough sales to make the author enough for a Big Mac. For other than a few hundred truly successful authors (Grisham, Rowling, King, etc) it’s really not a great way to generate income. Falls into that “starving artist” category for the most part.
Having said that, there are a number of channels you can pursue to see if publishing is in your future, and to pursue any of them, you’ll need a detailed outline (figure 10-20 pages) of the book along with a sample chapter (again, another 10-30 pages) as well as a smartly written cover letter that suggests target market demographics (for example, urban female teens rather than “teenagers”) and explains why you two are the perfect authors for the work.
Because this is so daunting a task and because the odds are quite frankly pretty poor, many authors opt to use an agent who can not only represent them to the publishers, but also take the barbs so that you, the author, can remain relatively unscathed as your proposal produces yet another rejection note.
There are a number of different books on the market for aspiring writers too, and I suggest a visit to your local library and chat with the librarian will greatly help you find the 3-4 classic works. You can also use Google to dig up lots of useful stuff too, including a search for “author’s agent Tennessee” to find agents in Tennessee or similar.
Scholastic is a big fish in the publishing world too, so it’s no surprise that if you go to its Contact Us page, clicking on “will you publish my book?” reveals:
“Thank you for your interest. We’re very sorry. Scholastic and most other children’s book publishers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Most works are submitted by literary agents or are created under a contract.
Our Editorial Department suggests that you may want to consult the current issue of the CHILDREN’S WRITER’S AND ILLUSTRATOR’S MARKET. It retails in the $20.00 range and should be available at most public libraries. They feel this book is helpful for aspiring children’s writers. “
Even given that, though, please don’t be discouraged! In fact there are also many more self-publishing options than ever before and your self-published book can still appear at sites like Amazon.com!
Good luck again on your endeavor. There are lots of books published annually and lots of great agents, so between the two, hopefully you’ll land your first contract!