How I Found a Trade Publisher

I am a literary agent — sort of.

I am a self-published author and a full-time freelance writer, editor, and book coach.

I mostly write weekly blog posts for various companies, edit books, and help authors write their own books, with some ghostwriting and website copy writing thrown around in there at times.

The apple didn’t fall far from the tree and my parents are currently writing a book.

They are interviewing Holocaust survivors and writing their stories, even including historical references and photos. I am extremely proud of them for realizing this dream they’ve had.

Going into it, they knew they wanted a traditional publisher, due to the type of content they are creating, the subject matter, and their lack of book marketing expertise. And I am no book marketing expert, either, despite my valiant attempts.

But I did it!

How I Found A Publisher

I started as most research does these days — by Googling “publishers of Holocaust books.”

This sent me on a journey into Publisher’s Archive and also led me to finding the Association of Jewish Book Publishers.

Both of these sites show the focus for each publisher — what types of books they look for a publish. Just because a publishing company is Jewish does NOT mean they publish Holocaust-related content. And just because a publisher is not a Jewish company doesn’t mean they don’t.

I looked for publishers that focused on history, world history, memoirs, and Holocaust books, all of course nonfiction.

Once I narrowed down the massive list of publishers to about 15, I looked for their websites and submission guidelines, compiling it all into a Google doc. If the site listed a specific Managing Editor or editor names, I noted those.

I then used a tool called Hunter.io. It’s this amazing resource for finding email addresses associated with any website.

I crafted a short but descriptive email explaining the book, which let them know it was currently in progress and asking for help as to who I might speak with about it and other questions.

Of course, about half of my emails bounced back.

But over the next couple of days, three different publishers emailed me back to either ask additional questions or invite me to submit the manuscript to them.

I replied to them all asking if they had time to jump on the phone. One replied to this second email and said yes.

We jumped on a call a couple days later and spent half an hour chatting about life and the book and his company. He happened to be the actual publisher of the company. He told me how he rarely ever answers random emails and even less often ones about submissions, as they have an official submission process they require authors to use.

But as he looked through the company’s email repository, he noticed my email and said the book idea was particularly intriguing and he wanted to discuss it with me. He said he has specifically been looking for more WWII related content!

We had a great call and he invited me to send him a couple chapters from my parent’s book, despite their submission guidelines requiring a complete manuscript (which we do not have yet).

Two days later, he replied to me with a contract and officially offered my parents a contract for their book!

It took exactly 6 days from the first Google search for publishers to having a contract in my email inbox.

Next Steps

The next bit is all up to the parental units. They’ll have a lawyer review the contract, have a call to officially “meet” their publisher, and then write the rest of the book!

This was a very cool process. I love researching and organizing, so Sherlocking my way around publishers was fun, and I learned a lot about the process.

Now, my parent’s book is extremely niche and specific, so finding a publisher interested in WWII and Holocaust-related nonfiction is certainly going to be easier than looking for a general fiction publisher.

I know I got incredibly lucky to have gotten an actual publisher (not an editor or associate) who happened to see my email, happened to have recently published a decently-selling book on WWII and was looking for another, and was willing to get on the phone with me.

But either way, I’m acting as book agent! So cool!

Entrepreneur, writer, editor, book coach, cat lover, weirdo, optimist. Author of “Write. Get Paid. Repeat.” & “Concept to Conclusion.” jyssicaschwartz.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store