Is Your Manuscript Ready to Publish?
The definition of publishable is to prepare and issue a book, music, or other material for public distribution, especially for sale. I also found a definition that made me say YES! —to be the writer of works that are published. Don’t we all want that? So why am I getting all Mrs. Dictionary on you? Because it matters. Yes, it matters that you write what makes your soul sing, and what fills your heart. But, it also matters that you write something that can and will be consumed by voracious readers who will want nothing more than to hear more of what you have to say. Writing for yourself is journaling, writing for others is publishing. You go from being a writer to an author! That is a big deal! So how do you go from Dear Diary, to Can I have your autograph? There are likely one million tips and tricks to ensure your manuscript is publishable, but if we boil it down to the top 5, these are it:
- Is it well-written, informative, or entertaining? Duh, right? But, is it, really? Have you invested the time and money to make sure it has been properly edited? Have you engaged beta readers to give you honest feedback about your content, story, characters, and plot? Each of these items is paramount to ensure you end up with a properly written and edited, engaging book. You cannot skip these steps and expect to skyrocket to the top of the best-seller list. And, when you do get the right editor and the perfect beta readers, you have to be willing to listen and consider their feedback—even if it hurts.
- Have you found and connected with your potential readers? Another critical aspect of creating publishable work is to ensure that there is a market for your book, genre, and voice. A great example of capitalizing on a growing niche was when Hunger Games launched the dystopian fiction craze, it was followed by Divergent, and then The Maze Runner series…and probably half a dozen less successful ones. You may not love the idea of mass popular fiction example, but these authors figured out how to effectively market and sell their work. Similarly, if you have a new and exciting topic that hasn’t been covered before, or at least not in the way you are, you have the opportunity to be a pioneer. The important thing is to know where your book fits into the bigger picture, and how you will market your book and yourself. My go-to publishing expert is Alexa Bigwarfe from Write. Publish. Sell. Find her at www.writepublishsell.co
- Are you promotable? Many new and emerging authors don’t realize that they need to have personal branding—not just brand their book. You need to have a platform, a unique brand that sets you apart, that makes you interesting and promotable. Why are you more interesting and engaging than the next guy or gal who submitted a manuscript on a similar topic or plot? You can answer that question by finding a branding expert that can help you think through the many aspects involved in creating your personal brand as an author. My personal favorite branding expert is Samantha Johnston from Neapolitan Creative. Find her at www.neapolitancreative.com
- Timing. Yes, timing matters! Whether you publish traditionally or self-publish, you have to consider the trade and retail calendar and make sure you have a marketing plan for your manuscript. There are MANY articles and studies that can help you determine the best month, and day of the week to release your book, based on its genre. Do the research, ask the questions, and make sure the timing is on your side.
- Luck. Yup! And it’s totally out of your control. Why does one author make millions while another struggles to sell more than ten copies of her manuscript? It’s luck. Right place, right time. All you can do is write a well-written book, do research to find the right market, create a personal brand that is enticing, engaging, and sets you apart, and understand the timing dynamics of your genre. Focus on what you can control, excel at what you can affect, and find the right experts that can help your work be the best it can be. Then let the universe do its magic.
P.S. As an editor, I would love to help you to make your book the best it can be. I am happy to offer you a FREE chapter review! You can schedule time with me at www.housestyleediting.com/work-with-me. I would love to hear from you!