Several authors have recently asked my advice on how to find publishers for their stories, which makes me think it might be a useful post on the blog. So here we have the sequel to ‘Stop! Don’t send it yet!’ (If you missed last week’s post you can read it here).
We all know there’s no point wasting our time submitting a proposal for a picture book to publishers who don’t do children’s stories, or a novel for teens to a publisher who only publishes adult fiction. And completely pointless if they don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts at all. But how do you go about finding a suitable publisher for your novel?
Well, here’s my suggestion:
First you need to do some research on foot. Go to your nearest Christian bookshop and take a good look at the shelves with books in your genre for your target age range. Just suppose your manuscript became a book, where would it best fit? If your book was on the shelf, which publishers could it be with?
- Similarity of content, for example, if your story is based on the life of a character from the Bible, who is publishing other similar titles?
- Length. Long or short?
- Age range of your target audience.
Step two, buy a selection of books closest to yours in content and length, and for the same age of readers. (And while you’re there, encourage the bookshop, be generous, support them in their outreach to the community!)
If you’re unsure how to start looking, have a chat with the assistant at the shop; they may be able to make some suggestions.
Steps three and four: Read the books (yes, reading for research is allowed – if anyone asks, tell them I said so! :-)) and check out the publishers’ websites, where you will be able to browse through all their titles, not just the selection you found in the bookshop. Still think your story/book would fit?
If so, find the section on your chosen publisher’s website that has information for prospective authors. Do they accept unsolicited manuscripts? If so, give them a try!
Yes, it will take a bit of effort, but what worthwhile thing was easy? 🙂
Next week I’ll try to get more specific about what you need to send. In the meantime, happy writing!
P.S. Registration for the new course (starting in January) has opened! More details here.