way to find a publisher for your book
This week has seen the launch of
a brand new way of finding a publisher for your writing.
If you've been writing for any
length of time you'll know how difficult it is to get a
publisher – and how long it can take to find suitable ones
to submit to. There are books you can buy with lists of
publishers, or you can go down to your local library, but then
it's a case of trawling through hundreds of inappropriate
listings just to find the dozen or so that might look promising.
We've all been there
– the hours, evenings, whole days that disappear
into searching those books – that's all time you could
(and should) be spending writing. Most writers, whether
published or not, continue to have a "day job", and
for most it's a struggle to fit their writing in (over 18 per
cent of people who cancel their subscription at firstwriter.com
cite a lack of time as the reason), so the last thing you want
to be doing is spending time searching for a publisher, instead
of creating something for them to publish.
That's why firstwriter.com
has created the Publishers
Database – to
allow you to find just the right publisher to take on your work,
and at the same time give you your time back to write and polish
your masterpiece to perfection. You can create a custom list of
publishers matching your requirements at the push of a button
– doing the work of
hours in a matter of seconds!
Our search facility gives you all
the tools you need to zero in on the publishers you're looking
for, allowing you to be as broad or as specific as you want: on
the one hand you can browse it like a print listing, or just
search for all the fiction publishers listed; or on the other
you can search for publishers of fiction, romance, and humour,
in the United States only, with annual turnovers greater that $1
million a year, who publish more than 100 titles a year, are not
refusing new material, and who are not known to be unfriendly to
unsolicited manuscripts –
or anything in-between! You can ask to see only publishers who
have an email address listed, or website, telephone, or fax
number, and even specify between which years they were founded
(if that really bothers you!).
What's more, because the database
is online it isn't restricted by space in the way that
traditional print listings are: details can be spaced out and
formatted so that they are easier to read, and more information
can be included. Listings can also be more up-to-date –
on our other databases there are instances of errors being
reported by users and the correct details being researched and
posted on the site within 24 hours! That's compared to print
listings that are compiled weeks or months before publication,
and are expected to last for a full year.
database also brings you other features not possible on a
traditional print listing, like the user feedback feature. This
allows users to post comments regarding their experience with a
particular publisher, which is then included in the listing,
providing a unique and valuable writer's perspective on the
To try out the new Publishers
Database for free click
story contest closes in days
just a matter of days firstwriter.com's First
International Short Story Contest will close for submissions
– if you haven't yet
submitted your story you have until May 1, 2005, to do
so. The competition is open to short stories in any style and on
any subject, up to 3,000 words, and you can enter online in
seconds by clicking
The winner of the
competition will receive a cash prize of £200, or the
equivalent in your currency (that's over $300). Not only that,
but there will also be ten special commendations awarded. All
eleven winners will be published in firstwriter.magazine
and receive a free annual subscription to firstwriter.com
worth $28.49 / £18.99, allowing access to our daily updated
databases of over
200 writing competitions, over
600 literary agents, over
250 book publishers, and over
Managing Editor, J. Paul Dyson, said: "the response to our
first story contest has been amazing, and we already have a
great line-up of entries to choose from. Having said that, none
of the judging has yet been done, and there's always room for
another quality story –
anything submitted right up to the May 1 deadline has a chance
will begin after the May 1 deadline, and may take several months
(entrants are free to submit their entries elsewhere
simultaneously). As soon as the results are available, they will
be posted on the site and announced in the following issue of
the free writers' newsletter.
enter the competition, click
here. For details of over 200 other current writing
book proposals: three solutions you can implement right now
By Jill Nagle, Founder and
GetPublished, guerrilla guidance for your writing adventure
An excerpt from How
to Find A Literary Agent Who Can Sell Your Book for Top Dollar
As a nonfiction author, you can breathe a sigh of relief. You donít have to write your whole book. In fact, you shouldnít write your whole book. You should write a book proposal, and get paid to write your book. Thatís how the mainstream publishing world usually works.
But before you start breathing too easily, consider this: upwards of ninety percent of all book proposals get rejected. The good news is, you can learn about and avoid the most common reasons for rejection. The bad news is, it takes some work, and there are never any guarantees.
You donít have to go through this process alone. You can find a writing buddy in the same boat, or hire a qualified publishing consultant with a track record of accepted proposals to help you through the process, or join a class led by a similarly qualified expert with other authors going through the same process.
Before I go further into the reasons book proposals get rejected, letís take a peek at the big picture. Take a moment and put yourself in an agent or editorís chair. Remember, as an agent or editor, your livelihood depends on picking the moneymaking proposals and avoiding the deadbeats.
There you are with literally feet of paper in front of you, which youíve lugged home because you couldnít get through all of it at the office. Dishes are still in the sink, youíd love to at least say hello to your cat, dog or significant other before falling into a tired heap on your unmade bed.
You pick up the top document. Itís got ink smudges. You quickly put it aside – if an author canít be bothered to send clean copy, what does that say about the rest of
The next proposal is written in type too tiny to read easily. That too goes into the reject pile. The third chunk of paper actually looks attractive. This means the agent or editor needs to look inside for a reason to reject the proposal. Look for a reason? Yes! Every proposal that looks like a possible go means a truckload of work for the weary editor or agent, so they look for even the smallest reason to toss your proposal aside and move onto the next.
Keep this scenario in mind as you write your proposal. Remember, itís your job as an author to
pre-emptively answer every possible objection an agent or editor could make to publishing your book, with a convincing argument about why and how they as publishers will benefit from investing in you. If you do this effectively, youíll set yourself apart from the other ninety-some
per cent of the authors who havenít bothered to master this process.
The rest of the question of who accepts your proposal will come down to chemistry, whim and other factors beyond your control. So letís turn to the factors you can control. Here are three big reasons proposals get rejected and what to do about them
now – before you send out that proposal!
#1: Being creative types, authors tend to avoid the economic reality of sales and marketing
Many authors find the process of writing the book proposal distasteful, because it involves stepping away from the ideas themselves and pitching them in an unfamiliar language. So they try to get through the process as quickly as possible and therefore produce a substandard proposal that fails to sell their book.
Make a radical shift in your mindset
Embrace the new world of selling your work, and decide to wear the ďbook proposal writerĒ hat with gusto, at least until youíve got your advance check in hand.
Realise that a book proposal needs to be written in a different voice, and with a whole other purpose in mind, than your book itself. A book proposal is sort of like a little book about your book, designed to sell the publishing staff on putting money behind the book. Itís essentially a business plan featuring you as the entrepreneur and your book as the product. So, either become an expert in this new way of writing, or hire an expert to do it for you. Either way, your book proposal has got to stand head and shoulders above the rest if itís going to pass the scrutiny of agents and editors.
PROBLEM #2: The author lacks a
The first thing a publisher wants to know about a proposed nonfiction book is,
"does the author have a platform?" "Platform" essentially means presence in the world.
Publishers want to see quantifiable evidence (namely, numbers) of things like website hits, sales of tapes, pamphlets or ebooks, circulation of places youíve published articles, mailing lists, speaking engagements and media appearances. They want to know whoís listening to you. Itís not enough to have a good book idea –
publishers want to see that people are already interested in your message in other forms. This helps convince them that there will be an audience who will buy your book once
SOLUTION: Develop a
Itís easier than it sounds. Here are five things you can do this week to establish your
- find an intern at a local college or university whoís majoring in public relations and would like an emerging or published author as her first client, and work with her to make your name and message
- arrange to give a free talk or series of talks at your local
- put up a website (or get a graphic design intern to do it for you) using one of the zillions of free services on the
- write a short article on your topic and pitch it to relevant websites and local print
- start a mailing list, even if only your friends are on it at first. Get a service like
or sparklist.com to manage the list and put a sign-up box on your website so you can add people continually.
What are you waiting for? Pick three of these and get going! Do the other two next week. By the time your proposal is written youíll have the respectable beginnings of a solid platform.
PROBLEM #3: Some authors still think marketing the book is the publisherís
Oh, would that that were true! Instead, publishers today expect the author to have a plan
(a comprehensive plan, if theyíre going to put any kind of money behind it)
to promote their book. If youíre lucky, theyíll help you out. But donít count on it.
SOLUTION: Leverage your platform-building activities into a stellar promotion
Through your proposal, convey the idea that you think promoting the book is your job and yours alone, and convey in your promotion plan every bit of time and ingenuity that you can promise to promote your book. Remember, your book proposal positions you as the entrepreneur and your book as the product. This means the
investor (in this case, the publisher) needs to be convinced that your product is worth putting money behind. The more you show you know how to promote, the better theyíll feel about parting with lots and lots of money to put behind you and your efforts.
What if you really hate the idea of writing a book proposal, or no matter how hard you try, marketing language just isnít coming to you? If for whatever reason youíre not sure if your proposal is
bulletproof, take a course or get an evaluation with a qualified publishing consultant to get your proposal in the best shape possible. If you have more money than time and inclination, get the consultant to write the proposal for you. No, thatís not ďcheatingĒ, itís just freeing you up to do what you love.
Make sure you choose someone with a successful track record in book proposal writing in particular, which is different from grant proposal writing, journalistic writing or any other kind of writing in that its sole purpose is to convince a publisher to give you money to write your book. The publishing industry operates according to quirky rules which require strict compliance, or else the authorís proposal gets pushed aside as fast as the editorís next breath.
Book Proposal Resources:
You can also find the Book Proposal Boot Camp on CD at the above
url, as well as books we recommend.
The founder and principal of GetPublished, Jill Nagle has been helping other authors get published for the last ten years. She also manages to find time to do her own work. Her most recent book is
How to Find An Agent Who Can Sell Your Book for Top Dollar: Jillís Guerilla Tips and
Tricks, see http://www.FindTheRightAgent.com
for more information. Her books have been acclaimed in the alternative press, and her essays, book reviews, fiction, poetry and articles have appeared in dozens of anthologies and periodicals. Her first book,
Whores and Other Feminists (Routledge, 1997) still earns royalties.
writers at firstwriter.com
for the following invaluable resources for writers:
on this newsletter for as little as $30 / £20 click
uses English spelling conventions.
Spellings such as "realise"
differ from other spelling conventions
but are nonetheless correct.
An online successor to the print
magazine The Argotist has been
The Argotist Online will
non-mainstream poetry than the print
version. In addition, it will contain essays and articles sympathetic to
non-mainstream poetry: poetry that is aware of
the plasticity of language and which places connotation and ambiguity over
denotation and precision of meaning.
If anyone is interested in writing articles,
conducting interviews, or submitting poems
(email about 8) then contact Jeffrey Side at
details of more than 450 other
your work online
A new online service has been
launched for authors who have completed
two or more full-length novel, called
"Can Write Will Write".
is restricted to only the most committed
writers (i.e. those that have
written two full-length works), who may submit up to five thousand words per book plus
synopses. These will be read by
assessors, and if deemed suitably professional, will be approved for publication on
allows writers to demonstrate to agents and publishers that they are a
commercial proposition. Members of the public will read
the material and be invited to leave comments on
each writer's personal visitors book. Agents and publishers can read
these comments. Should hundreds of people say they like your
It costs nothing to
submit your work. If chosen, writers are
normally asked for a contribution of £100 to put both your offerings and synopses on the
website. However, the first ten authors will have their work put up free
to get things started.
on the website for one year, and there
is nothing to stop you getting a deal
elsewhere during this time.
book on book marketing
Book Marketing from A-Z, a compilation of the best promotional strategies of 300+ authors of all
genres, is compiled by Francine
Silverman and published by Infinity Publishing.
In an alphabetical format for ease of use,
Book Marketing from A-Z is packed with unique ideas from Advertising (Pros and Cons) to Zero
Promotion (when the book sells itself). Whether the author of one or 100
titles, self-published or traditionally published, these contributors are
brutally honest about their pleasures and pitfalls.
Readers will learn by their
mistakes and adapt ideas in promoting their
"This book contains everything a new (or even experienced) author needs to
begin marketing," writes book reviewer Jeremy
"Authors might be surprised to learn
that there are many free things they can do to market their books!"
The 400-page paperback is available at
ontheweb.com (Category: Marketing).
Callander Poetry Weekend
The Poetry Weekend will be on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th September 2005,
with special guests
Sue Tordoff and Gerald England.
Poetry readings will be in the garden if
fine; indoors if wet. Special events
include a talk on George Mackay Brown by Sue Tordoff,
and a talk on haiku from Gerald England.
There will be a haiku walk on Sunday morning, weather
permitting, and a poetry exhibiton in a Callander
hall, with tables for poets / publishers to exhibit their publications and
Send queries to sally.
firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit poetryscotland.co.uk
for more information.
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