How Can I Get Published? | Penguin Random House (2024)

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A guide to demystify the process and provide you with resources.

How Can I Get Published? | Penguin Random House (1)

Thank you for your interest in Penguin Random House! The ins and outs of the book publishing process have long been opaque, and as part of our efforts to build a more diverse community of authors and create more pathways to publishing, we’ve written this handy guide to demystify the process and provide you with resources that help explain how the publishing process works.

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all experience for authors, but this guide will point you toward the most common experiences of working with agencies and publishers. For a glossary of publishing terms that will help get you oriented in the industry, and better understand the information shared below, click here.

Step One: Complete your manuscript or proposal

If you have a great book idea, the first step is (in most cases) to complete that manuscript or proposal. Proposals are common with nonfiction projects, and full manuscripts are often needed with fiction. For help with nonfiction proposals, you can consult Jane Friedman’s How to Write a Book Proposal + Book Proposal Template blog post. For other help with writing and craft, check out this list of books that can help you on your way. There are endless resources out there to help you on your journey, so take some time to research and find what works for you.

Also during this time, it can be helpful to connect with other writers, since they may have additional suggestions for resources to refer to, and some might even become critique partners or beta readers as you prepare your book for the query process, or pitch your manuscript to agents and publishers. Finding a community of writers who are in the same stage of the publishing quest as you are can also be an important source of moral support and you navigate the likely ups and downs of the process. The easiest way to find other writers is via social media, and the hashtag #writercommunity on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok is a great place to start. Another path is to look for writers groups who meet either in person or virtually. The Poets & Writers website has a trove of suggestions for finding your community, including a directory of writing groups.

Joining SCBWI gives you access to all of the ins and outs of children’s book publishing if that’s your focus. SCBWI conferences offer an opportunity to build community as well as access publishing professionals to guide your path to publication.

Penguin Random House is working to remove systemic barriers for underrepresented voices by increasing access to and information about the publishing industry. If you’re looking for additional support and opportunities, check out the Black Creatives Fund with We Need Diverse Books, the Center for Fiction / Susan Kamil Emerging Writer Fellowships, and offerings from our partners and friends at Kundiman.

Step Two: Find a literary agent

Historically, most major publishers, including Penguin Random House, have not accepted unagented submissions, in large part because an agent plays a critical role in serving your interests in the business relationship you will have with a publisher. While we are working to create and expand open submission opportunities through programs like the Berkley Open Submission Program, in most cases an agent is still required and advisable.

When it comes to finding a literary agent, the first step is to do your research and find agents who represent the kind of work that you write. You can start by researching the agents who represent authors whose work you believe is comparable to your own–often, the agents will be named in those books’ acknowledgments pages. From there, you can find out more about those agents or similar ones through resources such as Query Tracker, Poets & Writers Literary Agents Database, Writer’s Digest Books, or the Deals page on Publishers Marketplace.

The next step is to create a query letter and synopsis for your book. When you query agents, note that each agent has their own specific submission requirements—to start, some will want to see your first five or ten pages, others will only want to see a query. Whatever the agent requests on their website, be sure to follow those instructions. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity with an agent because you sent the wrong materials. If an agent has interest in your project, they will respond requesting more material.

One great resource for this stage of the writing process is Jane Friedman’s How to Find a Literary Agent blog post.

Beware of scammers! It’s important to note that agents only get paid when they sell your work. The common relationship for an author and agent is that an agent will take a set percentage of the deal sales in exchange for their work earning the book deal and negotiating on your behalf. Be wary of agent or publisher scams out there that require money up-front to be traditionally published. The common saying is “money flows toward the author” and it’s always been a critical aspect of the publishing experience—getting a book deal should never be a “pay to play” scenario. One popular resource for investigating agent scams isWriter Beware.Learn more on our PRH Fraud page.

Step Three: Collaborate with your literary agent to prepare your work for submission to editors

Some agents use their expertise to suggest edits to your manuscript or proposal to prepare for submissions, which is when an agent submits your work to editors, who are independently responsible for selecting the manuscripts they want to publish, in hopes of attracting an offer. The process with your own agent may vary, but the goal will ultimately be the same.

This process takes time, and there is no guarantee that your manuscript will find an editor who wants to publish it. Submissions very rarely lead to an offer in days. Many manuscripts take multiple rounds of submissions spanning weeks or even years to find the right home. In some cases, authors won’t be successful in selling their book to a publisher until their second or third manuscript, or beyond that. Though this can be a challenging time for authors, know that all parties involved want your project to find the right home, one that will provide the best chance to succeed.

Step Four: (Hopefully!) Land a book deal

If an editor shows interest in your project, they may ask other editorial colleagues for second reads. The process varies by imprint and publishing house, but most groups have regular acquisitions meetings in which the prospective editor presents your project to others on the publishing team. At this stage, they decide whether or not to make an offer.

The editor will present a deal memo to your agent, who will compare that offer with any others. This process may take hours, days, or weeks.

Ultimately, you have the final say over whether you will accept an offer, though you will likely discuss your options with your agent. After an offer is accepted, a contract will be drafted as well as the deal terms laid out in the memo. Minor negotiations will continue after this point, so if at any point you have questions about a contract draft, you should discuss them with your agent.

Good luck on your writing journey. We sincerely hope to see you on our shelves someday!

How Can I Get Published?  | Penguin Random House (2024)

FAQs

How Can I Get Published? | Penguin Random House? ›

If you would like to have your work or manuscript considered for publication by a major book publisher, we recommend that you work with an established literary agent. Each agency has manuscript submission guidelines.

How do I get my children's book published with random house? ›

If you would like to have your work or manuscript considered for publication by a major book publisher, we recommend that you work with an established literary agent. Each agency has manuscript submission guidelines.

How do you get picked up by a publishing house? ›

Once you have written your book, if you decide to pursue traditional publishing, you can follow these steps to begin the process:
  1. Perfect the first three chapters. ...
  2. Write a query letter. ...
  3. Refine your synopsis. ...
  4. Get an agent. ...
  5. Submit to a publisher.

How can I increase my chances of getting my book published? ›

How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Published
  1. Strengthen Your Manuscript. The first thing you can do to increase your chances of getting published is strengthen your manuscript. ...
  2. Research the Market. ...
  3. Publish Other Works. ...
  4. Refine Your Query Letter. ...
  5. Build Your Platform.
Apr 11, 2023

How much does Penguin Random House pay authors? ›

$92K (Median Total Pay)

The estimated total pay range for a Author at Penguin Random House is $69K–$129K per year, which includes base salary and additional pay. The average Author base salary at Penguin Random House is $84K per year.

How do you get a publishing deal with Random House? ›

How Can I Get Published?
  1. Step One: Complete your manuscript or proposal. ...
  2. Step Two: Find a literary agent. ...
  3. Step Three: Collaborate with your literary agent to prepare your work for submission to editors. ...
  4. Step Four: (Hopefully!) Land a book deal.

Does Random House accept unsolicited manuscripts? ›

Penguin Random House LLC does not accept unsolicited submissions, proposals, manuscripts, or submission queries via e-mail at this time. If you would like to have your work or manuscript considered for publication by a major book publisher, we recommend that you work with an established literary agent.

Who is the best publisher for first time authors? ›

16 Wonderful Publishers For First Time Authors
  • Avon Impulse. Avon is looking for big, high concept historical and contemporary romances. ...
  • Baen Books. ...
  • Black & White Publishing. ...
  • Coffee House Press. ...
  • Chicago Review Press. ...
  • Chronicle Books. ...
  • DAW. ...
  • Entangled Publishing.
Mar 25, 2022

Do any big publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts? ›

HarperCollins Publishers - They have a program called HarperCollins Unbound, which accepts unsolicited manuscripts in several genres, including literary fiction, crime, and memoir.

How do first time authors get published? ›

How to Get Your Book Published Traditionally
  • Finish and polish your book or proposal.
  • Query literary agents.
  • Your agent pitches publishers.
  • Sign a book deal.
  • Start editing and pre-publication business.
  • Start signing your book in bookstores!

What is the average age of first time authors? ›

In my experience, over the last 3 years it has been rare to find authors being traditionally published before their 30s, and the majority fall between 30 and 45. There are of course those who fall outside of that, either younger or older, but they are less common.

How do I get my book noticed? ›

11 Powerful Book Promotion Ideas for Self-Published Authors
  1. Have your own blog or website. ...
  2. Increase your online presence to spread the word about your book. ...
  3. Use social media. ...
  4. Learn from the most popular books in your genre — what helps them sell? ...
  5. Get reviews for your book. ...
  6. Write an enticing book blurb.

How do self-published authors get noticed? ›

How do new authors get noticed? Build a strong online presence through social media, author websites, and writing blogs to attract and retain a reader base. Network with other writers and industry professionals, both online and in person, to unlock opportunities and increase your visibility.

Is it hard to get hired at Penguin Random House? ›

Glassdoor users rated their interview experience at Penguin Random House as 60.3% positive with a difficulty rating score of 2.86 out of 5 (where 5 is the highest level of difficulty).

Is it better to self-publish or get a publisher? ›

Self-publishers get more control and a higher royalty rate, but some traditional authors enjoy working with agents and other publishing professionals who guide them. Therefore, no one will know for sure what's best for you, except you, of course.

How many books does Random House publish each year? ›

How many books does Penguin Random House publish each year? Penguin Random House publishes over 70,000 digital and 15,000 print books each year. Although these official copies line bookshelves across the globe, they aren't the only versions to exist.

How many pages does a children's book have to be to be published? ›

Children's Book Page Count

The vast majority of traditionally published picture books are 32 pages. In fact, many self-published kids book authors also stick to this page number. However, there are some picture books that come in at 24, 40, or 48 pages.

How much does it cost to self-publish a children's book? ›

If you're planning to self-publish a children's book, you should plan on investing at least $5,000, but more realistically, more than that, unless you are illustrating or you have a friend or family member who will be doing the illustrating, editing, layout, etc.

How many books does Random House publish a year? ›

How many books does Penguin Random House publish each year? Penguin Random House publishes over 70,000 digital and 15,000 print books each year. Although these official copies line bookshelves across the globe, they aren't the only versions to exist.

How do I get my kids book out there? ›

Step-by-Step Guide to Publish a Children's Book
  1. Know Your Target Audience. ...
  2. Refine Your Manuscript. ...
  3. Find an Agent (for Traditional or Indie Publishing) ...
  4. Submit Your Manuscript to Publishers. ...
  5. List of Children's Book Publishers. ...
  6. Purchase an ISBN number + Barcode. ...
  7. Scan Illustrations at a High Resolution. ...
  8. Copyright Your Book.
Jun 16, 2023

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