This post, admittedly, is a small departure but will probably be of some interest to the elite type of readership we have.
Sure, there are brilliant authors, talented editors, and leading publishers. And sometimes, there are teachers that have been avid professional readers and have engaged in classroom research and has developed some methods or ideas that may be publishable. Their question is – “how do I determine if my idea is publishable and if so, what then?”
The value of anything be it your car or your book idea is determined by the market. Although your market will ultimately be your colleagues around the country, you will first have to get the approval of a smaller “market” – acquisition editors. I suggest that you become generally familiar with the kind of books that your target publishers produce and decide which ones make the best fit.
After you’ve narrowed it down the next step is to find out if they have a formal “guidelines for authors” document. Publishers vary on what they need from you to go to the next step. Items may include an outline, table of contents, or a sample chapter. If you want to learn how to sell your songtexts, music, poetry, or prose over the internet, check out this article.
You may want to submit your copyrighted documents to the publisher via a traceable method to verify when they were received and who signed for them. Opinions vary, but I think it’s best to send your documents to your target publishers at once rather than one at a time. My reasoning is that it’s easier to nudge your favorite publisher into action if you already have an offer on the table.
A better way, but not available to everyone is to meet the acquisitions editor at a national conference.
You can do this by stopping at the publisher’s exhibit, but best is to invite them to your session if you’re presenting. After they love your message, a lunch meeting at the conference is the logical progression of the process.
Don’t be shy! It is the editor’s JOB to find new talent – that’s you – and topics for books. You’re just trying to help them. Remember, and this is key, we all have the same goal. Your idea, the publisher’s editing, printing and marketing, and someone like me selling the book all helps to benefit kids. That’s why we’re all doing this. And who knows, this year may be your big year!
My last pointer to prospective authors is to have your attorney review your contract. If you plan to write several books, you may want to negotiate-out the standard clause that gives the publisher the right to publish your next several books. If you become successful, you’ll want to have the option to shop your second book around to other publishers.