Repackaging my book proposal

I understand that publishers don’t have time to respond to each book proposal individually, but wouldn’t it be handy if they could tick a box so at least we know where we are going wrong?

Did my proposal even make it to an editor?

Was it my writing experience?

Was it my first five pages? My first page? Was the synopsis not engaging enough?

Was the writing not up to scratch? Did I use a dialogue tag other than’ said’? Should I have used ‘said’ alternatives? Did I use an adverb?

Was it the covering letter/query? It was the prologue, right?

Is my book marketable?

It’s this last one that I am going to delve into today. I, by no means, have the know-how on the Literary industry. This blog is more to take you on my journey: an unpublished writer uncovering the clues as she goes along. It’s Blue’s Clues, alright. It can be downright depressing, but more than that, it’s shown me how naive I am. Who do I think I am submitting to publishers directly? Am I arrogant? Am I cocky? Am I an arrogant cock? And if you’re English, you can call someone a cock and it’s all good. Has a different meaning here of course: it’s not quite as endearing and charming as cockney English and really scary to google when you want to check your facts.

I don’t think I’m making too much of a leap from my limited knowledge base to say that publishing is a business, and like any business, they need to make money. So…

Write what you love but it needs to sell.

Don’t write to a trend – but what is trending sells.

To work out where my book fits, I have to consider:

1) Young adult, new adult or adult.

2) Paranormal romance or urban fantasy.

Combinations of 1 and 2 produce very different expectations and attract different markets. Apparently romance readers have specific requirements – this is not from me, this is what I have heard over a few panels/seminars. I can’t guess what they are because a romance reader, I am not.

When I was thinking about comparable novels, authors I feel I am similar to, it became obvious that young adult urban fantasy – my pitch – is hard to find. Well, if you consider urban fantasy the way I consider urban fantasy, it is: if you took the romance out, the story would survive on it’s own. Try thinking about comparable novels and authors you are similar too. Now try and do it without saying ‘but’. It can be hard. I read on a blog once that a comparable novel will allow a publisher to forecast future revenue based on that books past sales. That makes complete sense, but if you don’t fit into a box, it’s tough. And no one wants to believe they fit into a box.

Don’t get me wrong, I have romance in my book. It’s slow burn and it’s low on angst, but it does has an emotional element where the tension builds. My original synopsis, though,  was focused around Mae, the troubles she has to face and how they are resolved. If I change my pitch to be young adult  paranormal romance, then the synopsis should focus more on the tension between Mae and Gage, rather than Mae’s journey?

Pitching as young adult paranormal romance will certainly make my book more marketable, if popular young adult books are any indication. Sex aside, I would love to introduce true urban fantasy as it’s written in the adult market, to the young adult market.

Am I selling out if I change my pitch? I don’t know, but there is a reason my favourite uf authors are writing contemporary, and I don’t condemn them for it. I know I want to sell my book, and I know I want this to be a paying career. And I do know that the shift and / buttons are wearing out on my keyboard from all these questions, so I must wrap this up.

I guess I need someone to help me sell my book, but literary agents are no less forgiving – so lets just go back to the very top of this blog and go through this again.

I’m dizzy.










11 thoughts on “Repackaging my book proposal

  1. Here’s a little insider info. An editor/publisher may love your book, but when they bring it to the table it may get rejected because the marketing/sales department, who have the final say, can’t see it’s marketability. So your job is to help the publisher sell your book to the marketing team. so you have to have an impressive bio, i.e writing competitions, published works and blogs all add up. It is important to fit your book into a genre as that all helps in the sales pitch. You probably knew all of this, bit I hope something here makes your journey easier. 🙂

    • I love that you have offered your advice. Too often we are told to write for love, not money and write what you love, not what will sell – but that isn’t always a reality. What is wrong with admitting that you would like to make your book marketable? That you would like to eat? I think this post should be predated and called ‘Pre-submission Options’, but I am what I am, and I will learn the hard way because the hard way, is all I know 🙂

  2. It’s ok to call someone a cock in French too FYI, except it’s spelled coq. My question post yesterday was about whether I’d ever consider writing a book, and your posts only served to reconfirm why I sit strongly in the NO column on that one. You need feedback, but no one replies to your submissions, so how are you supposed to improve upon them? *sigh*

    • I never knew that about coq 🙂 I have probably made it sound more ominous than it really is, this publishing business. Some people write their whole lives and are fully enmeshed into the writing society and have been publishing articles and entering writing competitions for years. I’m a mere babe!

  3. it is frustrating when going through the whole process of publishing, especially when trying to publish a book. I had some publishers when submitting a children’s book that never got back to me at all and that’s irritating. I took time writing a query letter, synopsis, and initial chapters and whatever, and you can’t even give me a “no thanks.” Anyway, keep trying. Many people try smaller publishing houses that are just getting started and succeed that way, at least it gets your work out there, even if you have to do some of the promotional stuff.

  4. It’s the same in the UK and, no, I don’t think you’ve made it sound more ominous than it really is. The writing society isn’t for everyone and I do believe it’s possible to make it on the strength of your writing alone. But it takes time. You’re so right – it is indeed terribly hard. Don’t give up.

    • There are some key elements I should have considered further, but at the time, I had so much information flying around in my head, I didn’t know which to prioritise. I guess at least now, I can weigh it all up and ensure I don;t make any further mistakes. Uk agents are next on my list after I have queried the six I can here 🙂

  5. Yeah, I wish they’d fill out a survey afterwards of why your book was rejected. I’m not to this phase yet, but I’m so scared just thinking about it. I wish you better luck in the future. Hey, look at all those famous writers and how many times they were rejected, right?

    • It’s scary, and I worry that I sent my submission off too eary, but I really felt I was ready. I’m glad that I have decided to wait before I send any more queries off. I thought the time was right, and if I think any differently, I’ll send myself crazy!

  6. I agree, it’s tough enough to be rejected but to be given no clue why makes it worse. You can guess but you never truly know. I know agents and publishers are busy and have to deal with a high volume of submissions, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

    • I’m happy for them to be quick and and curt. Tick a box! I’m easy. If they allowed you to be creative in your submissions, I might even send them some options they can tick lol. No, I wouldn’t…

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