Thursday, November 22, 2012

ABC's of Writing - (X)-Ray Books From Publishers You Want To Work For

If you think about an X-ray and the purpose, you will understand where I am going to with today's post. As an author, you need to think about where you want to write and who you want to write for. To do this successfully requires you to be a bit proactive in terms of your research.

I know I say this a lot here, but that advance research you do before you send that book out to editors and agents is crucial. Unfortunately, for many authors, they are simply researching the wrong things. They are not using their "X-Ray" skills and only looking at surface issues. When you really do your research, you will go below the surface of the books and really determine what makes that publisher tick. What is it that makes those stories the one's you are drawn to? Sure, knowing the genre and word count is fine. Sure, knowing the name of the editor is fine, but, in the end, there is much more to be looking for.

I do a workshop on this so I don't want to go into all of the details, but I will give you some of the highlights that might help out when you do your research.

What is the emphasis in the plots for your publisher? While all of them might accept historicals, some emphasize more of a historical setting focus and more attention to detail while others simply want the history to be surface level and more focus on the hot and steamy of the relationship.

How many secondary plots are there in the story? Again, what you will find is that specific lines tend to lean in one direction more than another. They may love the story you have written, but if you have far too many storylines going on, you will be seeing a rejecion letter.

Yes, you can even go down to the grammatical level of analysis when you do your research. Some places like shorter "simple" sentences whereas others like compound and complex sentences. Some hate semi-colons and others love them.

The point is you simply cannot rely on the surface level analysis if you want to be successful in this business. You have to use those x-ray glasses you bought with your Cracker Jack box tops. Look deeper!!!


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