August 5, 2021– We’re talking about what publishers want this month, and I hope that you’re paying attention if you’re thinking of submitting your work for publication to a traditional House; we’ve got some great tips that can help you!
Today is all about perspective, no-we’re not talking just about narration or point of view in terms of who is speaking in your book, but new, fresh, and exciting takes on stories, ideas, characters, plots, and settings.
When a publisher considers a manuscript for publication, here are three things that excite us:
- A new take on an old tale. Have you written a new spin on an old story? Perhaps you’ve unearthed a hundred-year-old European fairytale that resonated with you as a child, and you want to try your hand at switching things up a bit in the story. Picture this- the classic story of Hansel and Gretel but from the house’s perspective, set in modern-day, with a neighbour who could pose as a younger woman who studies the occult and witchcraft. If this story came across my desk, I would certainly entertain the idea of seeing what we could do with it!
- Fresh characters. Publishers want to see characters in books that readers will care about. We also want to see characters that are modelled after those in real life. We want differences of abilities, different races and cultures, characters with challenges, and unique beliefs, practices, and physical attributes. This is especially true for children’s books because we want to facilitate inclusion, diversity, and acceptance. Kids can’t be what they can’t see.
- A different look. Publishers especially love different illustrative ideas, new art forms for picture books, and innovative uses of space on the page. If you’re an illustrator, this is especially important to set yourself apart from the competition. Think of doing something totally out of the box, as in using scanned images of fabric to create texture and layers, or a style with a paper mache look, or create images that have a ton of depth so that they jump off the page!
The most important thing to remember when submitting your work for consideration is to ensure that your story is strong, the writing is stellar, that you have characters that readers will care about and resonate with, and that you’ve got a fresh take on old problems! All of these things combined make your manuscript practically irresistible to publishers! Check out my number 1 best selling book called Advice from a Publisher (Insider Tips for Getting Your Work Published) here: Advice from a Publisher (Insider Tips for Getting Your Work Published!): Bakker, Lacey L., Goubar, Alex: 9781989506141: Books – Amazon.ca
April 29, 2021– As we wrap up pushing the envelope in our writing, I hope that you’ve enjoyed the theme of this month. Be sure to join us in May as we begin our next topic, Writing Kid’s Books; you don’t want to miss it! Today we’ll be chatting about 3 ways you can push the envelope in your writing by choosing an epic plot that is unexpected.
- Rags to Riches to Rags-Rags to riches is a pretty common theme in novels and movies, but taking it one step further will help push the envelope in your writing. I know you’ve heard me say this before, but it’s worth repeating; not every story has to have a happy ending! If you’re going to do a classic rags to riches story, where your character pulls themselves out of poverty and lands in a big pile of money, be sure to throw in a plot twist where they lose it all and end up with nothing. Many people have experienced this in reality, and we should be writing, so it reflects that. Think Cinderella after she doesn’t end up with Prince Charming and has to spend her life cleaning for her stepmother and stepsisters or Robin Hood stealing from the rich and giving to the poor only to be caught and sentenced to hard labour for the rest of his days. Take the norm and flip it upside down.
- The Quest-Sending your character on a quest to find something of value is pretty normal in most adventure books; think Indian Jones or National Treasure as good examples. But what if in your book, the character dies at the end while never completing the quest or ever finding what they were looking for? Or better yet, that they got within arms reach and failed. We don’t always succeed in life or win, but the point is to never give up. Push the envelope and give your reader something unexpected.
- The Rebirth-We can speak about this plotline in literal and figurative terms. We could write characters that are ‘reborn’ after an accident (a brush with death or losing their memory and beginning their life again) or ‘reborn’ after some kind of enlightenment (they found religion or have had an experience that completely changed their life). An example of the first type of rebirth would be Still Alice or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The second type of rebirth includes examples such as Heaven is for Real or The Shack. Push the envelope in your writing by combining both types of rebirths. Put your characters in situations that will forever change them but not always for the better.
We’ve got one more post coming up tomorrow to wrap up our theme of pushing the envelope in your writing! Then we’re moving on in May to Writing for Kids! I’m so excited, and I hope you are too. Check out my number 1, best selling book for more advice on what publishers want: Advice from a Publisher (Insider Tips for Getting Your Work Published!): Bakker, Lacey L., Goubar, Alex: 9781989506141: Books – Amazon.ca