20 Oct How to Break In and Sell a Book-Persist and Persist
Last week I advised writers to sign up for critique sessions with editors at conferences and related my experience meeting Mallory Loehr of Random House.
Here’s an excerpt from our workbook, showing how I broke in.
“Years ago at a conference, Jennifer heard an editor say Random House wanted manuscripts for their Step into Reading line. The editor also said, “We always need true stories for kids.” After submitting quite a few manuscripts that were rejected, Jennifer learned from the editor that they were open to dog and horse stories at that time. Jennifer visited the library and read dozens of nonfiction readers published by Random House and other publishers. She learned the format, sentence structure, word usage, and subjects covered and how readers differed from publishing house to publishing house, but she focused on Random House’s Step into Reading line.
She chose the famous horse Man o’ War to write about because she found only one reader about a racehorse (Seabiscuit). It was by a publisher other than Random House. Jennifer wrote her story for a higher level than the book which was currently on the market. When she submitted to Random House, she stated in her cover letter what the competition was and that her story featured a different horse and targeted older readers.”
When the editor bought Man o’ War, Best Racehorse Ever, it was the 17th manuscript I had submitted to Random House. My persistence paid off.
Persistence is extremely important in the writing business. But if you persist in sending the wrong kind of story to a publisher, your persistence is meaningless. So how do you know what the right kind of story is? You learn that by doing market research. Please read “Research the Market and Sell Your Book,” which we posted on 9/23/2013.
Shirley Raye and I put what we have learned from experience about market research in our workbook, Write a Marketable Children’s Book. It will guide you on how to do efficient, helpful research. So–research and submit. Then persist and persist.