Thursday, February 3, 2011
Authors continue to make mistakes submitting articles and books to editors. These are the most popular hair-pullers that editors in the industry agree upon. Below are the six most popular complaints from editors across the country.
1, You claim your book is unique. This statement is the kiss of death because they don’t want a unique book. They want a book that fits into the publishing requirements their particular house promotes. At best, this implies that the author doesn’t understand the market for the book. At worst, it says that the book is, indeed, unique and, therefore, has no market..
2. Claim your book is for everyone. Books should be written with an audience in mind. Educational, professional and scholarly books have certain characteristics that are off-putting to the general reader. Different books are marketed in different ways and are placed in different areas of the bookstores. Publishing companies demand that every book be designed to suit the needs of their specific audience.
3. You send it to the wrong type of publishing house. Peruse each publisher in Writers Market or on line to find out where your book fits in. Don’t waste your time, money, paper etc. or the Editor’s time.
4. Your book is the size of War and Peace. Editors are busy. Submit the material asked for that provides the information needed. You will optimize the change that it will be read. Be concise and to the point.
5. Out of fear your idea will be stolen, you only hint at the contents. Being secretive turns off an editor and gives no idea of what the book is like. In a query you want to attract the editor to your work, not make them guess.
6. The MS is filled with errors. Not only are you selling your book, you are selling yourself as a writer. Spell check is a great gift. Read out loud to hear mistakes in phrasing. Ask others to proof your work and look for problems. Join a writing group and take their critiques to heart. Don’t be thin skinned or you will never publish.
The time you take to polish your MS may return paybacks again and again. The material you are about to send is relatively short. Take the time to carefully proof read it. Then write a killer first sentence, a query that grabs the editor, and pray.
And Happy (Chinese) New Year – the year of the Rabbit!