Saturday, 18 July 2009

Penrith again

Kathy Gale: What publishers want – and how to make them want you
Wise words from a former Senior Editor at Pan, Pan-MacMillan, Women’s Press, now a writing coach.
Publishers want :–

  • An author who writes a book a year and sells loads, particularly one of the 12 titles picked by supermarkets. Facility for publishers to “grow” authors has gone now; writing coaches have stepped in.

  • They want to know where your book fits in the market place. They need a clear idea so they can sell it on to retailers, distributors etc ie “heartrending love story set in Regency Times”

  • Writing of a new or contemporary style

  • Must be able to write what publishers want rather than what you want to write * Misery memoirs/family sagas are now on the decline with publishers, though they still sell to the public. Talk to agents/read trade press, best seller lists, etc for new trends. Read new authors and discover what it is that is different

  • *Don’t write cynically for a specific market, but write your book with an eye on the market. Try for something special ie psychological accuracy and depth. Describe place, characters, evoke atmosphere – don’t let pace override everything else.

  • Don’t believe all the rules you hear, especially about length, or not starting with a dream, a secondary character, or a building

  • Be professional in your MS and covering letter. Don’t indent paragraphs but leave a space between them. Single quotes are more popular now. Include a couple of paragraphs on plot, genre, comparisons with other authors (careful not to sound conceited!) and that you hope to write more in the same vein, with continuing characters

  • Author appearance does matter, no matter what they say, so for a meeting dress bright and less than formal but not to the point of eccentricity. If you are interesting, intelligent and “promotable” it all helps. Showing yourself as self-respecting and assertive but not as TROUBLE is good, too.


Glynis said...

Filed for the future. Thank You this is valuable information. Glynis @

N. Gemini Sasson said...

I've been reading your posts on the conference with great interest. It's particularly valuable to hear firsthand from those in publishing what they're looking for and what's often lacking in submissions. Thanks for sharing it all, Jen.