"Can you tell me how you find manuscripts to publish?" That's a common question in this business.
week I had an interesting conversation with an non-fiction acquisitions
editor who works for a sizable house on the East coast. She voiced
concern about a lack of good material. "It's flooding in," she
explained, "but by and large it is so poorly written I can't stand to
read it, or it has been published a hundred times before." I
acknowledged her pain, we conversed a
bit longer, and I hung up.
Where do we get our
manuscripts? The material keeps coming in, but where does it come from?
How does it end up on the accepted/contracted list?
the vast majority of cases, manuscripts that make the
accepted/contracted list follow one of four avenues. Here is how I
view this process from inside Savas Beatie:
Complete manuscripts, partial manuscripts, or query letters arrive via
email at email@example.com, or reach us through snail mail;
2) DEVELOPED: We see a need in a particular space, and seek out material through a variety of means.
3) FOLLOW-UP: We work with an author, enjoy the process, publish a book, and develop new material with him/her.
One of our authors recommends a friend's / acquaintance's work, and
either we follow up or we ask the author to follow up on our behalf.
you are a writer and desire to publish a book, ideally you want to find
yourself sitting at either Number 3 or Number 4. The former is
the four-lane freeway to publication with Savas Beatie, and it moves at 75
mph; the latter is a two-lane sidestreet that moves a bit faster than
normal traffic patterns.
The first option is the
congested on-ramp leading to the freeway. There are at least three
accidents along that glide path, emergency vehicles blocking the way, a
flooded water main, and bumper-to-bumper traffic. Regardless of the
difficulties facing you along that route, nearly everyone has to find a
way to avoid and overcome those obstacles at some point in their writing
career/avocation just to get a glimpse of the four-lane freeway ahead--which is moving fast with a lot of traffic.
Number two is a unique animal unto itself. (More on that later.)
I have expressed before on this blog, authors who do not follow
guidelines for submission or come across distastefully to the person
most likely to accept their work will find it sleeping with the fishes.
My next several posts will discuss each of these
options, and how we work them. I think potential authors will find it
interesting, and hopefully useful.