In yesterday's blog, I talked about the main reasons I won't publish an author's work. Here are the reasons I will publish your book:
Reason #1: I Love Your Book
It isn't enough for me to like your book. I have to love it. Before your manuscript is ready for prime-time, I will have read it four to six times. I've read books that grabbed me each and every time; I've read manuscripts in which I discovered additional layers with each reading; I've read books I can't put down even though I've read them multiple times.
When I am reading a manuscript for the first time, I ask myself if I am ready to read it again... and again... and again. If I can barely make it through the first reading, I know I won't make it through the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th without wanting to ditch it. I have to be enthusiastic about it.
Reason #2: It Won't Require Significant Editing
When the book is a great read and I can tell that it will require very little if any editing, it's a sure winner in my book. I need to see that the author has invested their time and perhaps the time and cost of a professional editor to make the book shine. Grammar, punctuation, tense, backdrops, characters and the backstory all have to be as good as the plot.
Time is money. When an editor gets bogged down in editing, the price tag for that book goes up quickly. That means we have to sell even more books just to break even, and we'd better be able to defend our decisions to our board.
Reason #3: It's a Genre I Can Market
There are hundreds of genres and sub-genres in the marketplace today. Here at DVP, we have established relationships with companies who market and promote particular genres - specifically, suspense, mysteries, thrillers and romance. If I loved your book but I don't have inroads in that genre, I am not going to be able to help you; there are specific markets for children's books, for example, in which we have no experience.
Reason #4: You Have an Established Platform
Today's marketplace is fierce and the top priority for every author is to break away from the pack and get noticed by potential fans/readers. I will perform Internet searches on an author if the three reasons above have been satisfied. If they have a quality website, a current blog, and they are active in social media for the purpose of selling their book, those will increase the likelihood that they'll be offered a contract.
We prefer to work with authors who have already been published and who have a track record, meaning we can look up their previous titles and see how many copies they've sold. If they self-published a book and sold 500 copies in a year, it has our attention. If they've been traditionally published and they've sold thousands, it receives even more attention.
Authors who contact us with their first manuscript and have an over-inflated idea of their book's importance are not for us. We want authors who understand the publishing business, know how difficult and yes - frustrating - it can be, and who are in it for the long haul.
Reason #5: You'd Be Great to Work With
As I mentioned in yesterday's post, all companies are made up of individuals. We want to work with positive authors who understand they are a vital part of the team. If we run an Internet search and find positive, thought-provoking blogs, social media tweets or posts that do not offend, and authors who don't point the finger when things go awry (as they inevitably will), we take notice.
We want authors who understand that selling a book is not a sprint but a journey that will take months or perhaps years. They should understand that we're going to remain as positive as we can. We'll be ready to think outside the box. We'll have meetings and brain-storming sessions to try and find the author's right audience. If one thing doesn't work, we'll try another. There will be frustrating times. There will be bad days. We make mistakes, too. But if the author is ready and willing to continue trying and avoid finger-pointing, we are, too. We'll go the extra mile if they're willing to go with us.