Your manuscript is ready to go! You've had it professionally edited, proofread and you've been over it a thousand times.
Where do you go from here?
There are a few things you need to remember when approaching a publisher about getting your book published. The most important thing is to visit their website first. They will have a specific section that details their requirements for book submissions. If you want a good chance of being accepted for publication make sure you visit their page to see what they require.
It is important that you read this page carefully. Follow the details specifically. If the site says they are not accepting submissions at the moment, do NOT send your manuscript anyway. If they are so busy that they have closed to submissions for the moment, your manuscript is likely to be discarded. If they provide a time when they will reopen to submissions, don't send your manuscript early. It will make them think that you either haven't bothered to read their submissions guidelines, or have chosen to ignore what they said there. Neither of these things will make them eager to publish your book.
Make sure you follow every step. If they ask for the full manuscript first, make sure you don't send a query letter or just a few chapters. Send the whole thing. If they ask for it electronically, send it that way. If they want a physical copy and request that you send a stamped, self-addressed envelope for the return of your manuscript, please do that.
Make sure that your submission includes your name, phone number, email and postal address. Include a cover letter telling them briefly who you are and what you have written about (i.e. its genre, length and any experience you have in writing in that area). This cover letter should be no longer than one A4 page.
Some of these requirements may seem like common sense, but it is surprising how many people don't follow instructions like these. Remember, the more you make an effort to do what the publisher has asked, the more likely they are to view your manuscript in a favourable light.
Once you have submitted your manuscript, it is best not to continually call or email them to find out what is going on, especially if the submissions guidelines say it will be a few weeks before they get back to you. If they have given you no specific details on when they will get back to you, contact them after about a month. If they tell you that you still have to wait, don't continue to contact them for updates. Publishers have a lot on their plate and calling them a lot will slow them down even more.
Remember to be patient. It is often a few years between the submissions phase and the publishing phase. This is a marathon, not a sprint. If you want your book published, you need to commit to a long haul to get it there.
To find out about Rhiza Press's submission guidelines visit the submission page.