How to get signed to a publishing company
As the CEO of Write One Publications, Inc. I’m often asked what publishers are looking for in an author? I can’t speak definitively for other publishing companies but here’s a general idea of what appeals to me:
1. A good story – This is a given but it has to be said. In order to capture the attention of an agent or a publishing company, you need to have a well written story with a great plot, strong characters, and if you can attempt a story in a way that no one else has, that’s definitely a plus. I particularly enjoy stories that have integral plot twists, so I am drawn to stories that are plot driven.
2. A marketing angle – If you can present a well written story that already has a marketing angle, you are ahead of the game. What do I mean by a marketing angle? Take for example my signee, author Bernice Harris’ non-fiction Pull Your Pants Up and be a man! The title alone has a marketing angle and when she presented the title to me, my mind instantly started reeling with marketing ideas. Make it easy for the publishing company to visualize how they can get your title out to the masses! There are a million romance novels, what makes yours stand out?
3. Follow the submission guidelines – With most small publishing companies, authors can submit their manuscript directly, whereas bigger publishing companies require submissions through agents.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been included on mass emails of manuscript submissions to other publishing companies, received full manuscripts without a prior request, or received a manuscript when my website states I’m not accepting submissions.
Please know that guidelines are created for a reason. It explains to the author exactly what genres the publisher is looking for and how they’d like to receive the synopsis/manuscript (i.e., Times New Roman, 12 pt font, double spaced, etc.) “On YouTube – How to format a manuscript“
When an author submits to me and it is expressly clear they haven’t read my submission guidelines, it makes me feel as though I am a part of a mass submission and they have done absolutely no perusing of my website, guidelines or done research on my publishing company.
Think of it as a job interview. When asked – what do you know about my company? What will your response be?
4. A fan base and/or social media presence – For me this is very important. Being a new author, I know how much time it takes to create a fan base and a solid social media presence. With knowing that, I would be more attracted to an author who has already established themselves either through blogging, vlogging, or a social media site like Twitter or Facebook. For me, this is not a numbers game because I realize that 1000 Twitter followers does not equate to 1000 fans. Instead I would look at the interaction between the writer and their followers, stats for their blog, etc.
Seeing an author take time from their writing to be present on social media sites and take an active stance on the success of their writing career, would definitely peak my interest.
5. Dedication – I think I’ve preached a lot on my blog about marketing being just as much the responsibility of the writer as it is the publishing company. So when looking to sign someone to my company, I am looking for a writer that is dedicated to having an online presence, marketing their title themselves, doing interviews and book signings, being proactive without overstepping me as the publisher…basically realizing they we are a team and being dedicated to whatever is needed to get their name and book out to the public.
Based on what I’ve mentioned above, do you feel you are ready to be signed to a publishing company? Please share in the comment section below.