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Thursday, May 27, 2010

How Do I Approach Publishers about My Book?

Due to popular demand:

First, study the Christian market and see if there's anything out there like the project you're passionate about. Is this fiction or nonfiction? Find something similar to what you want to do and study it (page count, style, publisher, etc.) If your project is a fit, then write the book.

Publishers are even harder to interest now than they were a few years ago due to the economy, unfortunately. But if God's in the project, He'll open doors. What I'd recommend you do is get the material shipshape (once you've found the market for it), create a one-sheet summary or a book proposal, and attend a writer's conference. I went to my first one in Chicago last summer (Write-to-Publish) and can't believe what I was missing. I had appointments with three literary agents (one was the top agent in the country) and several publishers. You have a few minutes to pitch your project, giving the bare bones on what it's about. You also hand the agent or whoever a one-sheet description of the project and sometimes orally describe the project while the agent looks at the summary. Sometimes he or she will look at the "one sheet" on the spot; sometimes he or she will agree to e-mail you back in a month or so and let you know if he or she wants to see the proposal or the full manuscript. Authors frequently get their feet in the door at conferences; it's truly the best way to meet publishers and literary agents face-to-face and develop relationships.

I've sent off many, many submissions over the years, but meeting a publisher at a conference, I'm convinced, is a much better way. There's something about talking face-to-face. If you seem "put together" and show any aptitude for writing at all, the publisher or agent will probably ask for a proposal. A lot of Christian publishers no longer consider unsolicited proposals or manuscripts, so this is often the ONLY way you'll get a hearing.

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