Thursday, June 7, 2012

What's Missing?

After you've gone through publisher catalogs, you may find you are interested in writing for one of them. The next step is to go to the library and look at as many of their books as you can find. Ask yourself, Could I write a book like this? If the answer is yes, move on to the next step.

Find their writers’ guidelines and see whether they accept queries, proposals, or manuscripts. Many publishers do not accept unsolicited material. However that doesn't necessarily mean they won't accept a query. A query can be as simple as an email to the editor asking if they would be interested in seeing a proposal on your topic of interest.

Once you know their submission process, go back to the catalog or website and find the area of books you would be interested in writing. Look for the holes.

If you’re a science writer and you like kindergarten to second grade material, find that area of the catalog and ask yourself what they’re missing that would complement what’s already there. Is there a series that you like? What title is missing?

The next step is to query and see if they are interested in a book or set of books on your topic. If so, then follow their guidelines to get your proposal ready. 

TIP: Feel free to query as many publishers as you like about an idea, but never send a formal proposal to more than one editor at a time.

 Present your idea clearly. In an interview with my editor for Readers Theatre for Global Explorers, Sharon Coatney told me this:
I've learned after doing this for many years that if a proposal isn't very clear, there's no point in going forward. There will be so much developmental editing, it isn't worth it.
So do your homework. Be thorough. Write well.

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