On the verge of the release of my sci-fi novel, Die Laughing, I thought it might be of advantage to other writers to hear my approach on how I got it published.
This has nothing to do with the quality of the story (I’ll leave that to others.) This is strictly a pragmatic approach that I used, which may help you to formulate your own plan.
I put together a tier of objectives, starting with what I thought should be my main goal, which I figured would be the best way to lead to a publishing deal with a major publisher. (Aim for the stars, settle for the moon.)
On top was to get an agent. I put together the best query letter and brief pitch that I could (constantly refining them.) From there I scoured agentquery.com and the Internet in general for agents related to my genre. I went through everyone I could find. I had some nibbles but no bites.
Next on my tier was to have the large and mid-size sci-fi publishers who would accept unsolicited manuscripts read mine. There aren't many, but I sent it out without any success.
The next step was to send out my query letter and pitch to the smaller legitimate (and check carefully!) publishers, which I did. This is where I started hitting pay dirt. In a short period of time I had five positive responses. The first one to make a concrete offer was IFWG Publishing, which I was pleased to accept. They're small, but spunky.
Had I not gotten any bites at that level I was faced with a choice - to hold back until my next novel was completed, start the process over with the new novel, and then present my first novel to whoever accepted the new novel (providing someone accepted it) - or to self-publish. I'm not sure which direction I would have taken.
The advantage to a tier system is that when I signed with IFWG it was with the knowledge that I was taking the best offer out there for my book.
The entire process took about a year and a half. And I’m happily sitting on the moon.
There is one caveat; it takes more than a plan. It requires perseverance and commitment.
Good luck and keep writing.