Seeking publication can be a daunting task. However, by following these simple steps you will greatly increase your chances of success while saving yourself time and money.
First, identify the publisher that is right for your work. Make a list of books that are similar to yours and note their publishers. If four out of five books you chose are from the same publishing house, your best bet is to start there.
Second, consult the publisher's website for submission guidelines. Follow those instructions as carefully as possible; that will show editors you are professional and serious about your craft. Get hold of a guide for information on how to write a cover letter, query, and format your manuscript. (Note: Many publishers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts, especially novels. They may instead ask for a query. Often publishers do not accept unsolicited queries either. If that is the case, you need an agent to submit to that house. Unfortunately, finding an agent can be as tough as finding a publisher.)
Third, wait. This step can be one of the most frustrating to the author and the urge to submit to multiple publishing houses may arise, but be careful. When you consult the publisher's website pay attention to their policy on simultaneous and exclusive submissions. Not doing so can be harmful to your long future with a publishing house. Fortunately publishers are becoming more accepting of simultaneous submissions as they realize it can take six months or longer for them to respond to an author. Publishing houses that do accept simultaneous submissions are a blessing to authors and should not be abused. Do not submit to anywhere that your work is not appropriate. Doing so is a waste of your money and it encourages publishers to not accept simultaneous or unsolicited submissions.
Fourth, you will most likely get rejected. It’s part of being a writer and should be viewed as an accomplishment and opportunity to refine your work. (Note: Most rejected submissions receive a form letter. If an editor takes the time to comment specifically on your submission, that is a major accomplishment.)
Fifth, don’t give up. If you do, you were never meant to be a writer.