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Do It Well

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Extroverted Introvert

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Industry Standards

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Here’s What We Don’t Want

August 24, 2021– We’ve listed what publishers want, but how about what they don’t want? It’s essential to have clarity, and we can’t have clarity without knowing the opposite. We only know what sadness is when we’ve experienced happiness, and we only know what health is when we’ve experienced sickness; the same goes for publishing; we need to focus on what publishers don’t want just as much as what they want to get the complete picture.

While many things will entice a publisher, let’s focus on query letters specifically and what publishers don’t want.

Do not put this in your query letter:

  1. Love. We don’t want to hear that your friends and family love your book, that your nieces and nephews loved it, or that your neighbours’ goddaughter’s dog thought it was terrific. Let us be the judge because it’s our job to be objective, and we know what the market demands. Your friends and family love you…we don’t. Publishing is a business, and the bottom line is if your book is saleable or not. We don’t publish books to lose money.
  2. Rejection. When querying a publisher, don’t put in how many times you’ve been rejected. This doesn’t make us feel sorry for you and is irrelevant. Plus, you might make us second guess ourselves if you’ve been rejected a million times and we want to publish your book after everyone else has passed on it. Rejection is a part of life, and a huge part of publishing, so get used to it and move on.
  3. Fame. I really hate this one, and I’m not even sure hate is a strong enough word. Despise, detest, loathe? Do NOT put in your query letter that you’re the next NY Times bestseller or insert famous author name here. It makes you sound like an arrogant, out-of-touch, idiot and I guarantee that the publisher will throw your query letter in the virtual trash. You may think that you’re the next James Patterson but never say it. A lion never has to tell us it’s a lion. Get what I mean? We’re the ones who decide whether your manuscript will see the light of day, so don’t anger us right off the bat with a ridiculous query that makes grand claims, ESPECIALLY if you can’t back it up. I’ll get queries like this now and then, and I purposely ask for the manuscript in full to see if the author is reaching. 99.9 percent of the time, they are, and that 0.1% that does make it never puts how amazing they are in their query letter.

We’re wrapping up what publishers want (and don’t want) over the next week, so stay tuned for more tips!

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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 – Amazon.ca

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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: https://feed.podbean.com/jidwkx/feed.xml

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 – Amazon.ca