Thursday, September 15, 2011

What are the Publishers looking for?

As a mainstream fiction writer, I would be glad to share my own experiences with other prospective writers on the subject. (Though my views on it are completely subjective).

My first fiction ‘In pursuit of Infidelity’ was published in 2009 by Rupa and co.  
After my MSS was ready, like any other writer, I also approached almost all the known and established national and International publishers having their offices in N. Delhi. Two of them responded back positively. Rest all politely, exited. All my observations are based on my interactions with these two publishers. Of course finally, as you all know by now, I decided to go with Rupa and Co. as they were not only the best among the two but also offered me a fair deal.
  1. Every publisher looks for a unique idea, concept or story that will appeal to a large readership group. It also works if a completely new side or perspective is brought out of a widely covered, read and thrashed out issue.
  2. The idea or story must be clearly reflected in the synopsis. Most of the big publishers get close to about 1000 manuscripts in a month (that includes fiction and nonfiction, both). So, the first selection is mostly made on the basis of the synopsis. If one wants to be noticed, the synopsis has to be powerful and succinct.
  3. Another good way to attract attention to your MSS is to have an attractive title – Easy to remember and appealing. The title also needs to convey the exact idea and yet be catchy, especially in case of a fiction.
  4. A brief yet well written ‘Author profile’ (that includes the author’s qualifications, profession, and writing experiences), also plays an equally important role.
  5. The most important thing about the MSS is to convey one’s main idea/story in an engaging and clear style.
Also, I believe, that publishers are our first readers. And an experienced lot at that. They are also there to do business and would only take up a project if they are convinced that the book they take up will generate decent revenue for their agency. Thus, even if one’s MSS is rejected by the first set of publishers, it is important to take their suggestions & feedback before submitting the same to the others.

Keep writing, keep smiling. 

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