Want to Get Published? 3 Things a Publisher Must See

Note: This is the first post in a series of 4 posts: 3 Things a Publisher Must See.

3 things

You have a book in your heart that you’d love to see published. It may even be a great book. A publisher and her editing board need to see three things to say the “yes” you’re hoping for. They need to see: a unique project, a viable market and the right author.

1. A Publisher Needs to See a Unique Project

Although what you’re writing may seem fresh to you, know that publishers have already received countless pitches for “My Cancer Journey,” “My Eating Disorder Journey,” “My Spiritual Memoir.” Does this mean you scrap your project? No. But it does mean that you need to demonstrate how yours is unique. For example, these might catch a publisher’s attention:

  • Why Cancer Was The Best Thing To Happen to Me This Year
  • How My Eating Disorder Was Cured When I Won “The Biggest Loser”
  • I Was a Satanist High Priest and Now I Love Jesus

Make an editor curious enough to open your proposal!

One baby step toward publication: Read other books in your genre and identify what, if anything, makes yours unique.

2. A Publisher Needs to See a Viable Market

The publisher also needs to see that there is a market for this book. Who are the readers who will buy your book? What is the felt-need they have that will cause them to purchase your book, read it and rave about it to their friends? Research the market so that you can demonstrate that there are book-buying readers who need your book.

One baby step toward publication: Develop a one- or two-sentence “elevator pitch” that succinctly communicates the substance of your book, who will read it and what distinguishes it from similar books.

3. A Publisher Needs to See an Author Who Can Write and Promote This Book

A publisher is looking for authors who can write and who can also get that writing before an audience.

You’ve probably heard that author platform—your ability to reach readers—is the most important thing to a publisher. (And it’s pretty important.) But hear this: every publisher wants to publish great writing.

Chapters and pages and paragraphs and sentences and phrases need to engage readers. Your goal is to get a publisher (aka “reader”) to read the first sentence of your proposal and want to read the next one and the next one. You may think it’s an editor’s job to give your proposal a thorough reading, but it’s not. Her job is to find quality books to publish. When she is perusing your proposal, she can check out—and check facebook—at any point in the process. Develop your craft so that you can write prose that a reader does not want to put down.

And there’s also that platform business…

Who has platform? Oprah. Rick Warren. Francis Chan.

Intimidated? You don’t need to be. You can be building your platform right now by:

  • pitching and writing articles for publications
  • developing an audience for your blog
  • building your speaking resume by speaking places for free: MOPs groups, churches, etc.

The key is finding what works for you and sticking with it.

One baby step toward becoming a great writer: Sign up for a local writing class, sometimes available at city colleges, or attend a writer’s conference in your area.

One baby step toward building platform: Set a goal to publish one article or story, with a reputable national publication that appeals to the eventual audience for your book, in the next three months.

Cheering you on,

Margot

 

 

WordServe News: May 2015

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ books releasing in the upcoming month along with a recap of WordServe client news from the current month.

New Releases

Mary Davis released Winning Olivia’s Heart with Heartsong Presents, the third book in9780373487837_p0_v2_s260x420 her series with Heartsong.

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Robert Morris, with agency client Marcus Brotherton released Truly Free with Thomas 9780718011109_p0_v3_s260x420Nelson publishers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Joe L. Wheeler released My Favorite Miracle Stories with Pacific Press.download

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New WordServe Clients

Jared Boyd and Karon Phillips signed with Wordserve Literary!

What We’re Celebrating!!

Cheri Fuller was interviewed on the Focus on the Family Radio Broadcast. Listen here. 

Lauren Scruggs and Lisa Velthouse’s book Your Beautiful Heart came in at #1 on the NYT Bestseller list for Fashion, Manners, Customs. See the full list here!

Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers (The Writing Sisters) are a finalist in the 2015 Selah Awards for The Shepherd’s Song in Women’s Contemporary Fiction.

Margot Starbuck is a finalist in the 2015 Selah Awards for Not Who I Imagined in Nonfiction Christian Living.

Shellie Tomlinson is a finalist in the 2015 Selah Awards for Heart Wide Open in general nonfiction!

WordServe News: February 2013

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ books releasing in the upcoming month along with a recap of WordServe client news from the current month.

The biggest news is our own Sarah Freese gave birth to a baby boy, Mason. They say writing a book is like giving birth, but I think the comparison breaks down a bit…if you’re the one actually giving birth! Congrats, Sarah! Now…back to work.

New Releases

WhatASonCheri Fuller released What a Son Needs From His Mom (Bethany House)

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wishingonwillowsKatie Ganshert released Wishing on Willows (WaterBrook)

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husbandlistenRick Johnson released How to Talk So Your Husband Will Listen (Revell)

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Jordyn Redwood released Poison, book #2 in her “Bloodline Trilogy” (Kregel)

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permissiongrantedMargot Starbuck released Permission Granted (Baker)

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forsakendreamsMaryLu Tyndall released Forsaken Dreams, the first book in her new “Escape to Paradise” trilogy (Barbour)

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MarianoRiveraMike Yorkey and Jesse Florea released Playing with Purpose: Mariano Rivera, the future Hall of Famer from the New York Yankees (Barbour)

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New WordServe Clients

During the Super Bowl, a storyline grew about Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49er’s starting quarterback. He had been adopted and his faith and family were being talked about, including his birth mother. His birth mother, Heidi Russo, had contacted our agency a few days before and quickly signed in. Margot Starbuck is writing her memoir You’ll Do Great Things, and Alice is circulating it to publishers.

New Contracts

Marcus Brotherton signed with Tyndale to collaborate with a Seattle-area pastor on a book called The Presence.

Tim LaHaye and Timothy Parker signed with Thomas Nelson to write Revelation: Clear and Simple, a chapter-by-chapter explanation of the last book of the Bible.

Margot Starbuck and Jeremy Jones signed with Focus on the Family to publish devotionals called Kingdom Women and Kingdom Men (respectively), using content from Tony Evan’s books of the same name.

Mike Yorkey and Marcus Brotherton signed on with Barbour to do Playing with Purpose: Nascar about Christian race car drivers.

What We’re Celebrating!!

A Higher Call by Adam Makos was able to stay on the New York Times hard cover bestseller list all through the month of February. It rose as high as #6 on the print list. The WWII story also made the NPR hard cover nonfiction list for 4 weeks, Publisher’s Weekly list, as well as USA Today.

Helen Shores Lee and her sister Barbara Shores, authors of The Gentle Giant of Dynamite Hill (Zondervan), appeared on “The 700 Club“.

Carol Barnier flew to Colorado Springs to tape an episode for Focus on the Family for her book Engaging Today’s Prodigal (Moody). One episode turned into two! It should air in March.

Jordyn Redwood got a starred review (her second!) in Library Journal for her new novel, Poison. That’s a pretty rare event, so it’s big news when it happens.

Carolyn McKinstry was on “The Today Show” to talk about Black History and her book, While the World Watched (Tyndale), the story of her losing her 4 girlfriends in 1963 to the 16th Avenue Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama.

What can we help you celebrate?

WordServe News

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ books releasing in the upcoming month along with a recap of WordServe client news from the current month.

New Releases

Sifted by Wayne Cordeiro (Zondervan). This was the lead book at the Exponential (church planting) conference in Orlando.

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You’ll be Sor-ree by Sid Phillips (Berkley Caliber). Sid was one of the men portrayed in the HBO series “The Pacific.”  He’s still alive and well and living near Mobile, AL. A very fine Southern Christian gentleman.

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Red Blood, Black Sand by Chuck Tatum (Berkley Caliber).  Chuck was another one of the Marines portrayed in “The Pacific”. He’s also still alive and living in Stockton, CA. Stephen Ambrose called this book (originally self-published in 1995) “Probably the best WWII memoir ever written.”  Chuck’s book served as part of the basis for the 10-Part HBO series.

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The Pursuit of Lucy Banning by Olivia Newport (Revell).

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Playing with Purpose: Baseball by Mike Yorkey (Barbour).

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Always the Designer, Never the Bride by Sandie Bricker (Abingdon).

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Toward the Sun Rising by Lynn Morris (Hendrickson) book #4 in the republished Cheney Duvall series.

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New WordServe Clients

James A. Hall was a successful businessman for many years before working as a vice president with Walk Thru the Bible Ministry. For 15 years, he led their Seminar Division and currently is the Executive Director of a 25-year-old national ministry, Saints Prison Ministry. Some Jungles Have No Giraffes is his exciting memoir that details his amazing and compelling life. From a childhood tarnished because his father was on the run from the law, through his boarding school experiences at a Catholic seminary, to his days as a wealthy businessman involved with the Mafia, and his time spent in prison, the author’s life story reads like fiction, but is true. The miraculous conclusion of this tale again proves that without God life is indeed a jungle. (Agent: Barbara Scott)

Kariss Lynch began her writing career in third grade when she created a story about a magical world for a class assignment. Since then, she has received a Bachelor of Arts in English with a specialization in creative writing from Texas Tech University. Kariss believes her readers should expect a journey. Readers can expect to see the beauty that God creates through broken lives and the adventure that comes when we follow the Lord. We serve a God of big dreams, daily adventure, and lasting hope. Making her home in Dallas, Texas, Kariss recently finished the Craftsman course through the Christian Writer’s Guild. She became a freelance writer and blogger for Demand Media Studios in January 2011. In March 2012, Kariss accepted the writer position in the Communications Ministry at First Baptist Dallas. She is very active with her church and family, is an avid Texas Tech fan, and enjoys photography and swimming in her spare time. (Agent: Sarah Freese)

New Contracts

Terry Brennan signed another contract with Kregel Publications for his next book The Brotherhood Conspiracy, a sequel to Sacred Cipher. Terry is in his 14th year of senior management for New York City nonprofits dealing with homelessness. Prior to his present focus with nonprofits, he had a 22-year career in journalism with the Pottstown (PA) Mercury, winning the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing while he was editor. His first novel, The Sacred Cipher, was published in 2009. (Agent: Barbara Scott)

Rebecca DeMarino signed a three-book contract with Revell Books for her debut Blue Slate series. The first novel, A Love of Her Own, will be released in 2014, followed by Heather Flower and Pure Patience. A 2011 ACFW Genesis semi-finalist, Rebecca and her husband Tom live in the Pacific Northwest. When not writing, Rebecca enjoys reading, running, gardening, and trying to keep up with her eleven grandchildren. (Agent: Barbara Scott)

Steve Addison signed with IVP for What Jesus Started, a follow up book to his first release onMovements. Steve works with Church Resource Ministries in Austraila.(Agent: Greg Johnson)

Calvin Miller signed with Baker Books for The Vanishing Evangelical, a penetrating look back and forward on what has happened to the Church in the last 30 years, where it’s going, what good and what harm has been done, and what we can learn from it all.  This is the 61st book Greg has represented for Calvin in the last 18 years.  (Agent: Greg Johnson)

Joe Wheeler signed with Howard Books for The Civil War Stories of Abraham Lincoln, a follow up to his book: Abraham Lincoln: Man of Faith and Courage (also with Howard). One of America’s top-three story anthologizers, this is the 74th book Greg has represented for Joe, as well as his 64th short story collection. (Agent: Greg Johnson)

Lauren Scruggs signed with Tyndale Houe Publishers for Still Solo: A Plane Ride, a Horrific Accident and a Family’s Journey of Hope. The book tells the story of losing Lauren losing her hand, her left eye, and becoming scarred for life after a tragic airplane propeller accident in December 2011. It is written with collaborator Marcus Brotherton, and it will be published this November. Also signed was a second book to young girls on body image. (Agent: Greg Johnson)

Jonathan McKee signed with Youth Specialties/Zondervan for More 10-minute Youth Talks, a follow up to his previous book for youth pastors. (Agent: Greg Johnson)

Ken Gire signed with eChristian/Mission Books for Finding God in the Hunger Games, an insta-ebook and follow up trade book on the spiritual themes in the book series and the new movie. The ebook will come out in June!  (Agent: Greg Johnson)

What We’re Celebrating

The Christy Awards committee has announced that Dancing on Glass (B&H Publishing Group) written by WordServe Literary author Pamela Binnings Ewen is one of three finalists in the Contemporary Series, Sequels, and Novellas category. The winner will be announced at a dinner to be held at 7p.m. Monday, July 16, at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando.

Amy Sorrells is the grand prize winner of the 2011 Women of Faith Writing Contest for Comfort and Salvation (now titled Canary Song). Amy is a wife, mother, registered nurse, and blogger, but most importantly, she is a woman of faith and a WordServe client. Recently, Amy received an offer for the manuscript from a well-known publisher. More to come later. (Agent: Barbara Scott)

Sarah Freese attended the Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, April 19-21. She met with several editors and potential future WordServe authors. Various current WordServe authors, including Patty Kirk, Anne Lang Bundy, Leslie Leyland Fields, and Margot Starbuck, were in attendance, and a few of them presented on panels and led forums. Leslie and Patty’s forum was so full that people sitting in desks and on the floor had to make more room for people to stand around the perimeter of the room! The picture below doesn’t even show the room at its fullest.

What can we help you celebrate?