Thanks to a prolific and highly respected Christian author, writers have some “staying-on-target” assistance.
Sally E. Stuart, author of thirty-six books and more than a thousand articles, has a marketing blog…Christian Writers’ Marketplace. Sally is perhaps best known for compiling the yearly Christian Writers’ Market Guide.
Her blog has daily entries that can assist writers in targeting the right publishers, as well as help them keep the market guide current.
Sally will keep you up to date with current news in the publishing industry…a must as tough economic times dictate what publishing houses can or cannot produce.
Go to: http://www.stuartmarket.blogspot.com
contributed by Sheryl Crawford
I’m sorry I have nothing to post today. We had a brief but freaky thunderstorm here in Highland very early Monday morning (around 2:00 a.m.) and lightning struck the transformer on an electric pole behind our house (talk about hitting a target!) We were without electricity for 18 hours, and when that was finally fixed by the Edison Co., we discovered the lightning had also damaged the circuit board for our heater. The heater is being taken care of today, but I am SO COLD from being without heat since early Monday morning, but of course, nothing like people in other parts of the country are suffering. We here in SoCal are definitely spoiled. However, my fingers are too frozen and my brain is too maxed-out from the cost of the replacement heater ($$$$) for me to be able to think and write anything coherent. Until next time… Marge
Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,
and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel.
Thank you, Wordsmiths, for the tips and perspectives you have shared this month on targeting a publisher. It’s good advice to set in motion, especially at this goal-setting time of the new year.
When I was a young girl, I took archery lessons. My Christmas present for that year was my very own archery set. It came in a long, cardboard box, and it contained an unstrung bow, the bowstring, a quiver, a paper target, and three different sets of arrows.
I was thrilled with the arrows because they had different points or tips. There was the target point used for regular target practice. There was also field point used for outdoor shooting of three-dimensional targets. Finally, there was the broadhead, whose thick metal point was used for hunting. Each arrow had a distinct purpose and it was to be used for a specific target.
When we write, the genre we choose is like our arrow. We need to determine what we are going to write before we can settle on the exact publisher we need to target. Do you want to write short children’s stories? Do you want to write about arts and crafts? Do you want to tackle non-fiction? Do you have a knack for writing mysteries?
Sometimes we know immediately what arrow we will be sending. Other times it is a process of growth and opportunities that shows us the right arrow to use. The point is (excuse the pun) that we need to start with a genre in order to begin targeting. Don’t be surprised with it changing over time. I started writing inspirational articles for women about five years ago. My first non-fiction picture book for children will be out in 2010.
The process to target doesn’t change much, but the arrows we use might. Keep writing and see what arrows you come up with.
Contributed by Catherine L. Osornio
An Illustrator’s Perspective
By now, you have probably noticed a common theme on the topic of targeting a publisher: research, research, and research a publisher to make sure they are an appropriate choice for your manuscript.
For an illustrator the advice is the same. I’m finding, though, that some publishers don’t have submission guidelines for illustrators posted on their website. A good companion to internet research is a writer’s and illustrator’s market guide. There are few out there. (Perhaps our readers could mention their favorites through comments.) One such directory is The Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market, by Alice Pope, published by F+W Media.
This annual directory gives basic information about the types of books published by each house. It offers tips which may include the publisher’s mission statement, what sort of illustrations they are currently seeking, and how samples should be formatted and sent. This type of book is a good tool to have and will help you to determine if a publisher is the right fit for your artwork.
Happy New Year and Happy Research!
contributed by Veronica Walsh
children’s book illustrator
I tend to be one of those “inspiration” writers. I come up with an idea. Then I spend days, maybe months writing and fine-tuning my story. Then I send it out. I was inspired to write the material. Surely, there is a publisher out there who will salivate when they read my manuscript, right? Not necessarily.
Getting published has always been a challenge. Today it is more so. Our chances of seeing our work in print diminishes if we only do inspiration type writing. I’m not saying don’t do inspiration writing. Just add targeted writing to your agenda.
To see our work in print, we need to spend time and effort to search out those publishers who publish the kind of material we like to write. We need to study their books or magazines. Studying is not the same as reading. Ask questions as you read.
Do they like humor?
Are they more fact based without the “trimmings”?
What have they published in the last few years?
Do I see a hole in their publication that I can fill?
Do I feel my writing style will fit theirs? If not, can I adjust my style to fit theirs?
Am I capable of effectively writing for the age group they represent?
Targeting a publisher is not natural to me. It is a lesson I am learning. I have committed myself to doing more of it in 2009. Wouldn’t it be awesome if , at the end of this year, we were able to see our work published, even if it is not those “inspired” manuscripts? Join me this year in some “target practice.” Let’s see what happens!
Looking forward to targeting a publisher in 2009, Gloria
I found this in the Judson Press guidelines.
“Successful publishers have developed specific ‘niches’ or areas of specialty. These niches are based on such related factors as the content and style of books, as well as their target audience(s). It is your responsibility to research and identify the publisher(s) best suited for the book you have in mind.
Consult publications as The Writer’s Market, Literary Marketplace, both of which can be found in most public libraries.
Browse publishers’ catalogs, either in printed form or online.
Visit local bookstores to determine which companies publish books similar to the one you have in mind.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Notice how they repeated studying the market before you write the book! I tried to do it backwards for many years and accomplished almost nothing.
-Contributed by Shirley Shibley