Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Do you know how to approach a publisher?

Last week, I talked about agents and what they look for in writers. Today, I want to mention the other important aspect of the writing industry: finding a publisher.

I decided to write about this topic when one of my friends shared that she’s just finished her YA novel (kudos to anyone who realizes this feat). Like her, some fellow bloggers have posted in their blogs that they’re fishing for publishers. So, I went fishing myself for a good article that gives us pointers on how to approach a publisher.

Lynn Serafinn, Personal Transformation Coach, Speaker, Talk Radio Host, and Author of The Garden of the Soul, wrote an article on how to approach a major publisher.

Lynn says that in her experience, there are seven main factors to consider in your decision to approach a publisher:

1. Discipline. Could you make a commitment to meet writing deadlines if given them? Have you transcended the trap of only being able to write when you are "inspired," or can you sit down and get into the groove when you need to?

2. Stylistic maturity. Is your writing style "mature" (well past the embryonic stage)? Could others easily talk about your style and your message as compared to other books? Is your style powerful and developed enough that editors would not want to change it significantly?

3. Emotionally prepared. Are you ready to "show up" as a public image? Are you ready to be seen and critiqued? Are you ready to speak transparently on a global level? Are you ready to release your vision, regardless of whether people like it or not?

4. Identity. Do you know who you are as a writer and as a person? Do you have a clear idea of your "public image" (i.e. who you are to your readers, fans and audience)? Can you stand calmly within the wisdom of your own identity when dealing with a publisher?

5. Platform. Do you have a well-established platform (i.e. a large fan base of people who know your name and your writing)? This is undoubtedly one of the major factors publishers will consider when you approach them, and something that will make it much less likely for them to try to "reshape" your image.

6. Marketing. Do you know how to reach your audience? Do you understand principles of marketing? Can you explain how you would market your book to publishers in a way that would make them say, "Hey, this one has some great ideas"?

7. Time commitment. Are you ready and able to commit LOTS of time to promoting your book? Is your life free or flexible with regards to family or other work commitments? Could you travel frequently without disrupting the rest of your life?

Lynn went on to say that speaking for herself, in 2009, when she went to publish The Garden of the Soul, she'd say she had these covered about 75 percent. But, in her opinion, 75 percent wasn't enough for her to approach a publisher at that time. Before she approached a publisher, she wanted to be able to give her full 100 percent. Then the time would be right . . . at least for her.

"When I wrote my proposal this year, I felt it to be truly a transformative process. I realized when I was writing it that I had finally reached my "100% Ready" place. I knew who I was. I felt I could write at the drop of a hat. I had a platform. I understood marketing. And most of all, I had already written my book and I completely believed in it."

"Being a self-published writer was absolutely the best thing for me when I had chosen to do so. The experience helped me develop as a person, as a writer and as a businesswoman. But now that I have firmly established my platform and really know who I am as a writer, I feel confident about making the shift to working with a publisher over the coming year. At the same time, I also have the confidence that I am able to flourish as a proud indie author, and enjoy the ride on my own as well."

"I hope you found these reflections and pointers to be of value in your own journey as an author."


  1. Thanks for sharing these pointers and your personal reflections with us. I have seen you grow as a writer, and if you keep going this way, you will go far. :-)

  2. Laura, my loyal reader,
    Thank you for your kind words. I try to do a good job for my readers. I hope they learn from my posts the same way I've learned. It's a long but FUN experience.

  3. Hi Claudia,

    Thanks for commenting and following my blog. Yay for the same background! Your blog is great so I'm going to follow you too.

    As for your post, I think that once I finish my novel, I'll have all those points ready when I meet a publisher. I'm especially working on my platform.

    I'm currently working on a book of short stories, and a novel as well. So thank you for supporting me, and I'll support you too.

    Warmest regards,
    John Smith

  4. Hi John,
    Thank you for dropping by and welcome to my community ;)

    Glad to hear you like my blog. I guess we have one more thing in common: same goals in the anthology & novel.

    I'll see you in the blogosphere.
    Keep writing!

  5. I think these are very important things to keep in mind for authors, perhaps especially the part about identity. If you don't know who you are yourself, then how will a publisher, or the audience?

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hi C.C.,
    Thank you for stopping by and welcome to my blog!
    Yes, if we know who we are as authors then we project that energy out. It's always good to keep a positive attitude so the publisher can believe in you and your work.