Blog > How to publish your first novel ?

First novel:
the obstacle course ?

The culmination of a passion for some, peer recognition for others or even the Grail for those who wish to live from their art, the publication of a first book is an initiatory journey which will perhaps give birth to an artistic object having an autonomous existence like a childbirth.

Before publication: writing her first novel

White page book

It may seem trivial, but you have to write your book before publishing it... you probably have no doubts about the originality of your story and your literary talent, but you will have to convince in a first the reading committees then if your work passes this first filter, in a second step, convince the publisher himself.

As the adage "You only have one chance to make a good first impression", better polish your text before seeking professional advice. The people whose job it is to select books for publication are able, with some exceptions, to identify the potential of a book from its first pages. You will therefore have to be at the top of your game from the first lines and even before by choosing a hard-hitting title.

A good exercise might be to start by writing the back cover and submitting it to your contacts to measure its hooking power. Indeed a publisher is a business manager who needs to sell to sustain his activity and it suffices to observe customers in a bookstore to see that apart from the gondola heads (Musso, Levy, Stephen King ...), people choose a book like they choose a bottle of wine: many irrational factors come into play. Try to ensure that your hook provokes curiosity, a smile or a start exciting plot...

Finally, before going to the stage of canvassing publishers, do not hesitate to submit your text to a French teacher or literature or to participate in workshops, more and more more, of writing whose returns can be profitable for you.

Publisher or self-production?


Finding a publishing house is of course the best way for a beginner writer, but the competition is fierce. Response times, which are quite long due to the different levels of reading committees and the number of works to be processed, can discourage the most impatient who will therefore turn to self-publishing.

The immense advantage of being accompanied by a professional editor concerns the distribution network as well as the final quality of the work thanks to experienced proofreaders.

Find a publisher that accepts first novels

The national publishing union updates the list of its members, nearly 800, by category (comics, law, etc.) and region, which allows you to establish a list of publishers that correspond to your literary genre.

All you have to do is contact them, or simply visit their website, to find out how to submit your first book to them. Some ask for one or more paper versions while others are satisfied with the digital version.

Given the competition, accompanying your work with a personalized note for the attention of the publisher can put it in a good mood.

Self-publishing his first novel

If you want to go fast or have only received rejections from traditional publishers, self-publishing is available to you. Many platforms have thus been created on the web to meet the demand. The objective of this article is not to review the different service providers, especially since very good comparisons already exist, such as that of

Depending on your budget and your ambitions, you can choose a paper edition or a 100% dematerialized edition in the form of an ebook or digital books to please the academy French ;-)

If you opt for the paper version and you have the ambition to get noticed, a long process awaits you:

  • contact independent bookstores,
  • take part in book fairs,
  • hold a stand at fairs or other cultural events,
  • create a website to sell your book, use social networks...

Protect yourself against plagiarism


If you fear that the texts you send to different publishers will be used without your knowledge, different solutions exist to prove the paternity of your creations that we have listed below.

We also wrote an article about copyright and image rights which will give you more information.

  • The registered letter: send your text printed by sticking the slip on the flap of the envelope to keep it sealed until the day when you may have to produce this proof in court "the postmark being authentic".
  • The email: send yourself and a few friends your manuscript as an attachment to produce this proof if necessary.
  • The Society of Literary People offers a service dedicated to protection of works. Their classic service protects you for 4 years for 45€ at the time of writing this article.
  • Bailiffs and notaries are people sworn to draw up legal documents that will protect your work in the best possible way, but their fees are often quite high.

Article created on monday, february 28, 2022

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