Beginning this week, Friday, May 22, I will have a guest blog about writing and/or publishing. These blogs, by invitation only, will be carefully vetted for content applicability and author background.
Tag Archives: mechanics
To give yourself a head start you need to make your book stand out. Why does the publisher have to read it? Why do you believe in what you are doing? What is it about this book that warrants the attention of the book-buying public? If you are able to provide a publisher with this kind of information before they look at it, then – as long as they are enthusiastic, of course – you’re a step ahead.
First and foremost, you need to stop thinking like a writer and start thinking like a marketer. Can you condense your story down into one or two awesome sentences? If you can, you’ve developed a pitch and, depending on the policy of the publisher in question, you can use this to get people interested – either on the phone or via cover letters/emails.
Do you know which market you’re aiming for? Have you thought about how your book will compete with others on the shelves? Why is it different? Why will readers pick up your travel book on Rome rather than the Lonely Planet’s? If you can give a publisher answers to these kinds of questions (without them having to ask), you will pique their interest. Otherwise, if such questions come up and you have no reply, you will look naïve.
Look at submissions policies very carefully and use them to your advantage. A script that comes in clean, tidy, correctly formatted according to guidelines and with a concise cover letter will get more attention than the dog-eared, single-spaced tome with a rambling two-page explanation.
Are there small embellishments you can use to draw people’s attention – artwork, for example? Be careful on this, if you make the presentation too much of a challenge for a publisher, you’re shooting yourself in the foot before you’ve begun.
Can you do anything else differently to get people’s attention? Your ploys need to be subtle, because at this stage a busy publisher is doing you a favor by reading your work.
The submissions stage is one where books and dreams are made or broken. Success is a combination of skill, perseverance, patience and good fortune (and much more besides) – but the only way the final line is ever drawn is the moment you give up. Good luck!
- Don’t trust spell-check to interpret your connotation. Use a dictionary.
- Know the rules and obey them.
- Essentials of English; p. 2-3, 134-135
- Avoid overuse of commas and exclamation points. Properly punctuate quotes.
- Essentials of English: p. 119-139
- Editors appreciate a double-spaced manuscript with one-inch margins.
Be sure to read the publisher’s submission guidelines. Not all publishers have the same requirements. Read them and reread them again.