WRITING: Knowing what a publisher wants
Updated: Jun 24
Before we go into any depth on how to publish your book, you really need to figure out the following of and for your book:
Title of work: Main title and subtitle
Author: Your name or pseudonym/alias
Genre/Premise: for a list of BewleyBooks' genres, look at the fiction/non-fiction sections here
Structure/Style: Is it slow or fast paced? Is it a wordy or quick read? Is it high or low-brow entertainment? How many chapters are there? What is the plot and theme? Is it written in the first or third-person, or something else entirely? Is it fiction or non-fiction? A memoir, biography or autobiography (and do you know the difference)?
Characters: How many are there, who is your protagonist/antagonist? What are their parts in the story? How do you set them up and let them fall? What challenges do they face?
Dialogue: Does it read like a film script or a 19th Century tome? How much dialogue is there in comparison to descriptive text? Does it show or tell? Does it show and tell?
Practical Implications: What market would your book appeal to? What type of reader are you aiming for? What age group? What formats would it suit? What age group? Have you got a following of any kind, whether in the physical or online world? What is your social media following like - platforms, followers, groups? Are you prepared to do the marketing leg-work (i.e. blogs, pods, vlogs)? Have you been to any book fairs? How many publishers/agents have you already approached with this book and what was their reason for rejection?
Overall comments: What sort of book do you think it is similar to? How did you come up with the idea for it? Is it personal or practical? How long have you been writing it? How much time have you invested in it?
Word Count: is it an 80k-100k word novel? Or a 25k novella? Or is it a bible-thumping 300k educational document?
This is a very short list that will help the publisher you approach to figure out if this is the kind of book they are interested in publishing.
Oh, and don't be 'secretive' about your book!
That really doesn't help a publisher decide on whether to invest in your work. A publisher cannot be classed as an 'average' reader.
A reader or potential book buyer will spend, at the most, £24.99 for your book. A publisher, n the other hand, well they're looking at over £6,000.00 to plough into your work.
Therefore, they need to know from the get-go if your work is going to be a viable investment.
So, don't hide your manuscript ending or title from them in the hope that they'll get excited. They won't. You'll only pee them off.
If you don't know the answers to any of the questions I've posed above and in the previous posts, then not to worry as we'll be covering all of them over the following months.
Until then, all my best,
Kaye is a freelance publisher, author and certified psychotherapist with over three decades of experience. She is also a writer for various blogs about writing, publishing, travelling and health care.
Feel free to visit her BewleyBooks.com site, where you can sign-up to follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube.