The following article is written by
Katherine Murphy, author of Awake O Sleeper: How I Rediscovered God
Through Breast Cancer. Katherine’s book is wonderful and I highly
recommend it! You can purchase Katherine’s book, Awake O Sleeper,
www.barnesandnoble.com, or at a bookstore near you.
PERSEVERANCE IN PUBLISHING
by Katherine Murphy
Looking for a publisher for your
work may be the toughest job you’ll encounter. However, authors who don’t give
up, who keep sending out their proposals and manuscripts, who look in the face
of rejections and say, “this is an opportunity to submit elsewhere” are the ones
who reap the rewards. Perseverance is key.
With this in mind, there are a
number of questions you can ask yourself and steps you can take to continue
refining this process while you await a publisher’s contract offer.
- Is my “skin” thick enough? This is essential. Many
authors stop submitting after a few rejections. They assume their work is not
good enough. You can’t afford to take rejections personally. More often than
not, when a publisher says “no” to you, it is not a reflection upon your work
but rather a mismatch of book and publishing house. They may have recently
published a book on the same topic or perhaps they no longer publish that
particular genre. There can be a number of reasons.
- Are my query letter and book proposal knockout quality?
If they’re not, now is the time to fix them. Get some feedback from other
writers, from marketing people / friends. Make sure your idea or hook is
unique or a new variation on one that is tried and true. Most often, the
“entry” to an editor is your query letter. Make sure it is top notch.
- Are my manuscript / sample chapters in the best shape
possible? Do they read well? Are they interesting? When you receive an
invitation to submit, you want your work to be ready. Connecting with other
writers and groups, both in your community and online can be invaluable. Get
early readers and feedback. Sometimes editors will offer suggestions with
rejections. Consider these and make changes if appropriate. If you are able,
hire someone to edit your work professionally.
- Am I sending to the right publisher? You need to know
who your audience is and what genre/category you book falls into. Study
Writer’s Market to make sure the houses you are sending to publish your
kind of book. Make lists of these houses and when a rejection comes in, have
your query and/or proposal package (depending upon what the house requests)
ready to send right out again. Don’t let it sit on a shelf. I followed Susan
Page’s advice in Shortest
Distance Between You and a Published Book for submitting in order to
maximize this process.
- Along the same lines ask yourself, do I know the
marketplace? Keep current. Your local library should carry
Publishers Weekly and national newspapers, like USA Today and
The New York Times. Watch for what kinds of books are being published and
by whom. Check your local bookstores every couple of months to see if there
are any new titles in the section where your book ultimately belongs. Who is
publishing them? Do agents handle them? If so, they may be interested in
representing your book.
- Am I willing to promote my book? Publishers and editors
love authors who will do this and offer to in their proposals. I received my
contract based largely on my proposal’s Marketing and Promotion Section.
Additionally while I was submitting to publishers I began joining groups
related to my book topic and investigating other places for future promotion.
Look for magazines to submit articles in an effort to bring attention to you
as a published author. If you can sell a book excerpt, even better.
- Am I already networking and setting the ground for
future public relations? I can’t stress this enough. You will be amazed at the
contacts you make by getting “out there” and by making yourself known at
workshops and conferences and venues where local authors and writers visit.
Look for events where agents and editors are present, and attend those.
- How knowledgeable am I about the publishing process?
Look for classes offered by published authors or editors in your area. Many
books outline the publishing route from A –Z. They are full of tips and
Here are some good ones:
1001 Ways To Market Your Book
by John Kremer
Jump Start Your Book Sales
Marilyn & Tom Ross
The Publishing Game series
by Fern Reiss
Guerilla Marketing for Writers
by Jay Conrad Levinson, et al
Above all else, remember remain
positive. Don’t give up. Be proactive. If your book is a good one, well written,
and with audience appeal, your persistence will pay off.
© 2004 Katherine Murphy
Check out Katherine’s endorsement of June’s Book
“With June’s help and direction, my book sold on the
merits of my proposal alone. One agent even told me that my proposal was the
best she’d ever seen.”
Author of Awake O Sleeper
Article provided by June Cotner,
publishing consultant and author of the bestselling Graces and Dog Blessings
and 24 other books. PO Box 2765, Poulsbo, WA 98370
For more information on having your book concept analyzed
or your nonfiction book proposal evaluated, please go to:
For more articles on how to get published, go to
www.JuneCotner.com and click on
"Articles on Publishing."