Another spot-on post by our fearless president, Janice Thompson~~~
You’ve written your book. Edited it. Run the chapters through your critique partners. The time has come to shop the story idea to publishing houses, but you don’t know where to start. I would love to share a few tips from my journey. I know what it feels like to have the door slammed in my face, but I know the bliss of watching it swing wide. I’ve published nearly seventy books now, so I’m thrilled to say my “Open Sesame!” approach is paying off. I feel sure it will work for you, too.
Seven Sure-Fire Ways to Get that Publisher’s Door to Open:
ONE: If you’re working without the assistance of an agent, make sure you have a copy of the Writers Market Guide. You can sign up online for up-to-the-minute information about publishing houses (what they’re looking for, how to submit, etc.). The Writers Market Guide is the writer’s best friend.
TWO: Query the correct editor. This might sound like a given, but many writers have a more haphazard approach. They send a “Dear editor” letter, then wonder why the book is rejected. The editor wants (and needs) to be acknowledged. You’re writing to a person, not an entity.
THREE: Write the best possible book proposal. If you don’t know how to do that, consider taking our fiction course. In that course you will receive the tools you need to put together a killer proposal, one sure to wow any editor.
FOUR: Make sure your synopsis and sample chapters are the very best they can be. Polish them until they shine. Remember, this is the first sample of your writing that the editor will see. It’s important to put your best foot forward.
FIVE: Beef up the market analysis section of your proposal. In this section you will list other books (already published) that are similar to yours. Tell the editor what sets your book apart from those on the market. Why will readers be drawn to your book?
SIX: Editors are looking for authors with a platform, so make sure you list every organization you’re a member of, as well as your publishing credits, blog address, former speaking gigs, and so on.
SEVEN: List the ways you plan to market your book. The editor will be looking for a go-getter—someone who’s willing to blog, do interviews, speak, participate in book-signings, etc. These days, authors are responsible for most of the marketing on their book, so you’ve got to be willing to go the distance. Let the editor know up front that you’re excited about the prospects.
I’ll leave you with one final tip: Be positive, but don’t be pushy. Editors love upbeat authors, but they don’t have a lot of patience for overly aggressive ones.
That’s it for this week, writers! Before long you’ll be standing at an editor’s door, using those magic words: “Open Sesame!”