Will your book sell?

Well, will it?

As the writer, I can’t promise to make you rich, or help you to get revenge. There are laws about defamation and libel. Also, I don’t write misery memoirs and usually decline fiction. I can generally manage the rest.  What I do provide, which gives you a head start over most wannabe authors, is work of publishable quality. Just as there is no film (even a silent one) without a script, so there should be no publication without writing that engages readers. This applies to self-published books just as it does to work that’s accepted by publishing houses.

When you submit to regular publishers, you’re asking them to invest money. It helps if you, The Author, have been a big success at whatever you’re writing about, but nobody – not even commissioning editors – can guarantee that a publisher will be eager to accept your book. It’s difficult to find mainstream publishers for most memoirs if the author isn’t already a household name, and many other genres – like self-help, cookery and business management – are overcrowded with credible, bankable writers.

If this dismays you, go to the blog pages on this site and you’ll find some general views about self-publishing.

If you think your book has a chance of commercial success get yourself a subscription to the Writers and Artists Yearbook online, where you can search for regular publishers by topic, genre, location and so on. Those who welcome unsolicited work will expect ‘a proposal’ and will explain on their website what this means in their case. Established authors may submit a proposal to their agent before their new book’s written, but if this is your first book, and you’ve had no previous contact with publishers or agents, then save yourself time and have the book written before you submit.

So: first, catch your writer; second, have her produce your manuscript. How much of your own time will this take?

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