A new author has a really great book but can’t get anyone interested in publishing it. How many times have you heard that story? A lot! That was what we were hearing five years ago when we started Mantle Rock Publishing. So many authors had good books, but no one would give them a contract to publish their book. It’s sad when you have something you believe in, and no one wants to look at it. Let’s look at the manuscript and the author and see what we can do to help.
The first thing I’ll say is, “I don’t like the word ‘can’t.”’ It is a negative word and most people who use it are negative. When I’d use it as a child, my mother would always say, “I can’t never did a thing.” That is so right. You have to have the mindset to succeed.
Now, the manuscript. There are so many things I see in new author’s manuscripts that I can understand why a publisher or agent won’t take their book. Here are a few things I look at:
- Their market plan. If an author doesn’t have a Facebook presence, a blog, or willingness to do those two things, I won’t take their book.
- Does the manuscript have a lot of telling? If there is a lot of telling and not a lot of dialogue, I won’t take the book.
- No one wants to read a book with a lot of backstory up front. You can always weave the backstory in as you write the book. When you tell it up front, your book is shorter. But when you remember things in the book, you have things to talk about with another character.
- Too many Point of Views, or POVs. Most of the books published have three POVs. I have read some that have more, but it has to be a really good book and full of action to keep a reader’s attention. When every character in the book has a POV, it’s too many.
- A good balance of narrative and dialogue. This is important, and it makes the book more interesting. Personally, I like about a 50/50 balance. Readers get bored with a lot of narrative and not enough dialogue. And the other way around, a lot of dialogue and not much narrative.
- The book should read smoothly. Not jump around with scenes that make no sense. It should read smoothly from one scene to another. You should not have to turn pages backward to recall your memory.
Most writers are introverts. It’s hard sometimes for us to go up to someone and talk about our books. Personally, I feel like I’m bragging, and I don’t want to push my book on someone. But I have learned by being in direct sales for years, if you don’t ask them, someone else will. Work to get over that fear. It took me years to do it, and I’ve fallen back into my introverted ways. It takes a lot to get me to step forward.
Remember this. No one will buy your book if they don’t know about it. Marketing your book is as important as writing it.
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