jeudi 14 décembre 2006

The whole picture

is based on the ‘whole
picture’, not just the book. The whole picture
consists of all the different things a publisher or
commissioning editor must take into account
when making a decision to publish.
There are four main parts
to this picture:
1. The book
2. The author
3. The market
4. The publisher
I have also identified four subsidiary parts in each
of those areas, all of which will be examined in
the following pages. No single part is sufficiently
important to guarantee that your book will be
published, but combined they have the power to
influence an editor’s decision either for or against
Getting published comes down to improving
your chances with all of the sixteen factors, but,
given the fundamental randomness with which
some publishing decisions are made, occasionally
the advice is going to appear contradictory.
At times I’ll make it seem like it’s
impossible to get published, at other times
I’ll make it seem easy. This is because in
some cases, for some books and some
authors, it is, frankly, impossible. In other
circumstances it’s easier than falling off a
greasy, rotating log. It all boils down to
your talent, your age, your persistence,
market trends and luck.
Most authors get better at writing over time. As
with most crafts, experience results in increased
skill levels. Given enough time anyone can write
to a professional standard – we all start from
nothing as children, after all. This doesn’t mean
you have to achieve the standards of Thomas
Hardy or Virginia Woolf. Jeffrey Archer will do.
The problem comes when, having achieved the
requisite writing skills, an author fails to learn
enough about the business of publishing to have
a hope of ever selling their work. They don’t
follow the fairly simple rules that would enable
them to place their submission immediately in
the top 10%. These are the few manuscripts that
get serious consideration by editors. The rest get
rejected after no more than one, two or three
pages have been read. Sometimes the cover letter
alone is enough to trigger a rejection. I’ll explain
why later in this book.
Getting published is about maximising your
chances of being considered, of making it to a
short list. This is something over which you have
control, and it accounts for 90% of the journey.
Successfully making the final leap from
submission to acceptance will always be a matter
of luck, but getting your book proposal into the
final 10% of submissions with a number of
publishers will make it mathematically likely that
your name will end up in print.
The sixteen elements that
influence a publishing decision:
The book
Quality of writing
Fresh ideas and a new angle
Format of the book
Title and subtitle of the book
The author
Previous books
The market
Related events
The publisher
Size of company
Direction of company
State of company
Internal politics

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