If your dream is to make it big and sell a million hard copies and have fan signings and do book tours, then traditionally publishing might be the choice for you.
Many writer have a goal to sign a substantial contract with one of the big 5 companies in publishing.
They are book powerhouses and sell more copies than anyone else. With their support, you will have a high chance of success.
Click here for a list of the publishing companies with the most sales in 2016
If you want to be traditionally published, you will need to find and get representation from a literary agent.
Literary agents are the people responsible for getting your stories into the hands of publishers.
Why do you need an agent?
Because publishers get thousands and thousands of manuscripts every year, and agents are a filter that make sure that publishers only see quality works worth publishing.
This a good thing. There are way more agents to look at your work. That means a higher success rate for getting published.
Agents also know and understand the industry. They know what publishers are looking for, and who they should send your manuscript to.
When publishers do decide to offer you a contract, agents are responsible for negotiating on your behalf.
They are also much better at negotiating than you would be.
They have connections to people
How do you get a literary agent?
Now you know why you need an agent, but how do you get one?
First: you will need to find an agent through a variety of source, but research literary agents over the internet to find agencies and recommendations.
When you spot an agent that matches the qualifications for your target audience, story, and genre you will need to message them.
Second: you will need to follow the literary agent’s submission requirements through an email with specific formatting, and additional information.
Additional information needed may include a brief bio of your experience as a writer, any works you’ve completed/published, a query letter, a synopsis of your story, and up to 3 chapters of your story.
Third: Wait for reply. You could end up waiting six months to hear back. And it might be a rejection, so apply to more than one agent at a time.
Literary Agents- https://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/2014/08/agents-looking-for-science-fiction-and.html (fiction/fantasy agencies)
What Publishers Hate- https://www.ian-irvine.com/for-writers/what-publishers-hate/
Getting and agent is really hard and even if they spend months sending your manuscript to every decent publisher in existence, it still might not work out.
What are you left to do?
You poured your heart and soul into creating that story and you’ll be damned if it doesn’t get published.
Luckily you can publish online without an agent or traditional publisher, and in some cases make a lot more money.
Vanity press agents: Watch out for these kinds of offers. A vanity press will ask you to pay to have your book published.
You should never have to pay to have your book published.