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Sense of Subplots

August 23, 2021– Publishers want a lot of things from authors, and those things include a great manuscript, a positive author attitude, and an excellent work ethic. We’re almost done with our theme this month, which publishers want, but we still have more to cover, so let’s get to it!

A subplot is a side story that runs parallel to the main plot. There are three main types of subplots which are romantic, conflict, and expository. The subplot is always connected to the main story but never takes over. The purpose of the subplot is to strengthen the main story, character, and conflict.

Publishers want to see strong subplots (no more than two or three) that are timed and paced well to move the story forward. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Growth. Subplots reveal additional, new, or fascinating information about the main character that lends to their growth as a person. The main character should transform from who they were at the beginning of the book to who they are at the end of the book. The subplot also gives depth to secondary characters who would otherwise be one-dimensional.
  2. Motivation. Subplots give the reader a glimpse into the why behind a character’s actions. It shows why the characters are so determined about reaching their goals, sometimes no matter the cost.
  3. Struggle. Quite simply, subplots intensify conflict. They can heighten the tension and add new plot points that put obstacles in your character’s way that prevent them from reaching their goals easily. This results in a more dramatic climax which is what publishers are looking for.

When publishers receive manuscripts, we expect to see a compelling story and the story as a whole. How does the character grow? What are the obstacles that stand in their way? Why do they want what they want? Who is going to help them get there? Who is going to prevent them from getting there? If you can answer all of these questions and write a subplot that is intriguing and adds to the story, then you’ve got a good chance of being published!

For more info on what publishers want, check out my number 1 best selling book here: Advice from a Publisher (Insider Tips for Getting Your Work Published!): Bakker, Lacey L., Goubar, Alex: 9781989506141: Books –

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Do Your Homework

August 12, 2021– We’re talking about what publishers want this month, and we’ve been dishing out our most helpful tips for authors! Hit the subscribe button on our blog on the right-hand side of your screen so that you never miss a post and remember to follow us on our podcast here:

Publishers want to see that authors have done their homework; what does this mean? Before submitting your manuscript to us for consideration, we want you to do (or at least know about) the following things.

  1. Word Count. We want you to know the word count for your specific genre and abide by the parameters set out by the publishing industry. I see this all the time with kid’s books submissions; I’ll get a manuscript that is 400 words or the polar opposite at 1000 words; it’s quite apparent that the author hasn’t a clue that the industry standard for children’s books is 800-850 words. It’s important to know the basics and to ensure that your manuscript meets the specific word count. Anything too short or too long will disqualify you.
  2. Unpublished. Did you know that if you’re looking to get traditionally published, none of the manuscripts you’re submitting to us should show up online? It’s considered published at that point, and we won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. Yes, fanfiction is included in this, and E.L. James (author of Fifty Shades of Grey that started as writing Twilight (Stephenie Meyer) fanfiction) is the exception to the rule. We want to ensure that our books and publications are fresh, new, and unique. Also, don’t submit anything that has been previously published.
  3. Only One. Most publishers will not accept simultaneous submissions. That means that submitting to multiple publishers at the same time is frowned upon. Why? It’s an etiquette thing. Picture this; you’ve sent your work out to various publishers without telling any of them about the others. We all decide that we like your manuscript and want to do a deal. Now, I know what you’re thinking-great! Let’s turn this into a bidding war, let them fight over me, and I’ll go with the one who offers me the highest royalty. Well, you’re in for a big surprise if this is your train of thought because not only is it totally unprofessional on your part, but none of us will be fighting, we’ll simply all decline, and instead of a bidding war, you’ll have zero chance of being published with any of us. Submit to one publisher at a time and wait for a response. Don’t jump the gun, or you could be shooting yourself in the foot.

For more advice on what publishers want, check out my number 1 best-selling book here: Advice from a Publisher (Insider Tips for Getting Your Work Published!): Bakker, Lacey L., Goubar, Alex: 9781989506141: Books –

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Write for Real Life

April 5, 2021-Sometimes by playing it safe in our writing we limit our opportunities for growth not only as authors, but in finding out about the world around us and the people that live there. Today I’m going to talk about what publisher’s want to see when it comes to pushing the envelope in your writing.

  • New solutions to old problems. If we use YA books as an example, some of the subject matter written about involves divorce, substance abuse, the character finding themselves, peer pressure, eating disorders, and more. As a publisher, I want to see new solutions to these old issues and not always a happy ending. Divorce, for example, could include the main character going to live with her grandparents or best friend’s family, or even better, striking out on her own and figuring things out herself. Maybe she sides with the mother’s new spouse or the father’s new partner, perhaps she decides to move abroad and get some space from the whole situation. The possibilities are endless, and they should all be explored when brainstorming. Going with the least obvious choice is a sure way to get your query read.
  • Fresh perspectives. Publishers are sick of seeing the same old perspective, and I’m not just talking about the type of narrative (e.g., first person), when authors submit their work. We want to see fresh perspectives, we want new voices, and we want to hear voices that have been stifled up until now. We want more diversity in the way characters are presented, where they come from, and how they see and deal with the world around them.
  • Real characters. Not every character should be white, blonde, and blue-eyed. We need to show unique characters in our writing just as we observe in the real world; people come in different shapes, sizes, abilities, challenges, and personalities and we should strive to include them because these facts are authentic, real, and sometimes raw. Think back to the last time you saw a character in a wheelchair or with leg braces on in a children’s book; what about the last time you read about a character with Down Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy? The point is, authors need to embrace the real people, their challenges, and the situations around them.

You’ll have to do a lot of research on topics you don’t know about when writing things if they are not something that you’ve experienced such as ableism, health challenges, relationship issues, etc. But please remember to bring in the experts and do not appropriate cultures. There are a lot of stories that are not ours to tell. Stay tuned for more advice in pushing the envelope in your writing all this month. If you’d like help with your manuscript or don’t know where to start, check out some of our courses and classes here: Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House, Transitioning from Writer to Author (An Introductory Course) – Pandamonium Publishing House, Best-Seller Bootcamp – Pandamonium Publishing House