Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Educate Yourself: Know Your Target Publishers & Editors

Yesterday's Word Count: 501

As an aspiring author, I've heard time and time again from industry professionals that newbies should not only just “write the damn book” but that I should also keep up with what's happening in the industry and research and know as much as possible about the publishing house I'm targeting.

Now, I know for a fact from all the blogs, forums and tweets that there are TONS of writers out there writing away with no thought whatsoever as to which publisher they are targeting. It's almost like it's an afterthought and that they'll just sent out masses of queries without regard to if they are even targeting the right house for their work.

There are so many things wrong with this haphazard Russian roulette way of kicking off your writing career.

Although I think a writer should be true to their story, shouldn't they have at least a passing idea of if their idea has an audience and if so, what publisher is the best one to present it to that audience.

Most people wouldn't accept a job with a company without trying to get a feel for what the job entailed, who your boss would be, what the expectations are and finally, do you meet the qualifications of the job?

I know there are so many out there saying, “But you must write the book of your heart without caring about audience and who you are pitching.” This isn't the post to get into that whole book of your heart convo, but I wanted to point out that you CAN do both. There's no reason why knowing you want to sell to Harlequin Blaze and that they want stories at 55k words has anything to do with if the story you write is an emotional one for you.

Please authors, educate yourself! Treat this like the business it should be to you if you want to make a go at this being a full time career for you.

Follow any and all romance editors on Twitter, Facebook and blogs. You'll see them write about books they love, what they've acquired or are editing and you'll get an idea of what type of stories they are looking for. It's an easy way to get an idea of who might be your ideal target.

Oh and for goodness sake go to the websites of the publishers and look at their submission guidelines! I don't know of a single publisher that doesn't list them plainly online. I can't tell you how irritating it is to sit in on an editor chat and have question after question be about what the margins should be or if they take e-submissions. Do your homework!

Present your best face to an editor by knowing your business – the writing business!

Now get out there and learn all you can so you can make sure you have the best chance at not only finding the right editor and publisher, but also the one that will help you be the most successful.

OTF - (Off to Write)
Sabrina Shields


  1. In total agreement about knowing submission guidelines and following it. And that if you have a dream publisher with a specific word count, etc...write toward that goal.

    But! You can write what you are driven to write, then find the publisher it will fit with through research. A slight ammendment to your small rant, but I think worth considering!

  2. Great post. I have to keep one eye on the publishers and the other on my story :).

  3. Very helpful! Everything needs a goal to achieve and definitely having achievement by writing someone is really tough as you don't really face. Your words will tell everything to the reader. I think proper writing with its etiquette always helpful as shown some tips above.


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