How does one publish a manuscript?

When publishing a manuscript, there are three main options available to you:

  1. Find yourself a literary agent1 book stackeding
  2. Land a publisher on your own
  3. Self-publication

Each of these options have their own pros and cons, but be sure to keep in mind your manuscript’s individual needs when deciding which to use.

Literary agents

A literary agent, in simple terms, is the middleman between the author and the publisher. They use their connections in the publishing industry to sell your manuscript to a publisher. As an author, you are required to follow the agency’s submission guidelines, which can typically be found on its website. On average, a literary agent will charge you 15 percent of your manuscript’s earnings as payment, however, a better agent might require you to pay more.

Direct to publisher

Over the years, it has become more common for authors to skip the middleman and move right to finding a publisher on their own. As the author, you will have more control over your manuscript, but be prepared for challenges when dealing with publishers directly, namely fighting for what you want and having to understand and negotiate your publishing contract. An extensive listing of publishers can be found on and in many other print and online resources.


Depending on what your end goal is, self-publication can be a great tool for twenty-first century authors. Benefits to this strategy include no shared profits, and the freedom to make all necessary decisions. However, there are upfront costs, and getting your published book into stores can be challenging for a multitude of reasons. Remember, you will be responsible for all marketing and public relations, so think carefully before you decide to go this route.

For more information on any of the above-listed options check out the links listed below. Writer’ Literary Agents Self-Publishing

Caitlin Goheen is a 2014 TCU graduate, having majored in journalism and minored in art. She hopes to pursue a career in fiction book publishing and editing.


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