The Writing Practice : Journalism by Marcus Niski



Marketing for Writers: The Fine Art of Getting Published...

In today's highly competitive publishing environment the business of securing commercial publication for a writers' work is   increasingly becoming a highly skilled art form.

Like any business the publishing world is surrounded by two major protagonists: many buyers and many sellers. Many buyers in the form of publishers in any specific market, but many sellers in the form of an almost unlimited number of writers who wish to see their work in print.

So what are successful the ingredients of getting a publisher to accept a work for publication?

In order to maximise the prospect of publication one of the most important aspects in marketing a manuscript is to consider is the commercial publishers perspective.

Indeed any publisher whether large or small has a number of fundamental commercial imperatives which they must consider in accepting work for publication.

Chief amongst these is the profitability of the published work and the prospect that publication will add to the publishers financial success rather than diminishing it.

Accordingly, there are two alternative sides to the publishing 'story'- that of the Publishers' perspective and the Writers' perspective.

From the publishers perspective there are a number of issues which must be addressed in ensuring that a publishing venture will be successful. These issues surround questions such as:

·    What is the size of the potential market for the work?

·   What sort of competition already exists in the market?

·   What is the likely size of the print run that might be suitable for such a work?

·   What is the retail price of the work likely to be ?

·   Who will retain copyright in the work: author or publisher?

·   What are the likely terms of the contract between the writer and the publisher?

·    How and when will royalties be distributed?

·    Can the author "deliver the goods" and work  to a strict publishing deadline?

·    Will the author be interested in promoting their work at workshops, lecture tours, writers festivals etc.?

Just as the publisher has a particular perspective with respect to their side of the publishing bargain, so to does the writer who must similarly weigh up whether a particular publisher is the best one to go with in terms of publication and remuneration.

Consequently the writer must consider such crucial issues as:

  · Is the manuscript now ready in its final publishable form?

  · Does the particular chosen publisher specialise in the market which the book will be published in ?

  · Is the chosen publisher likely to promote the book effectively in the marketplace ?

  · What advance - if any- is the publisher likely to pay ?

  ·Who will retain copyright in the work?

  · What additional costs - if any- are relevant to bringing the manuscript to final publication EG: Permissions, illustrations etc and who will pay for these?

The fine art of getting published undoubtedly rests on the meeting of minds between the commercial resources of the publisher and the work produced by the author.

The writer who is savvy about the marketplace, who knows and understands the commercial imperatives of the publishers and is able to market their work effectively is far more likely to be successful than one who blindly presses ahead regardless of a lack of a suitable publisher and unaware of the realities and constraints that are imposed by commercial publishing houses.

By getting to know the market the writer is aiming at, understanding the nature of contracts and their implications for authors, choosing a publisher who ideally specialises in the particular market, and being persistent in bringing the work to final published form the writer is undoubtedly more likely to succeed in seeing their cherished project into print.

In Part Two we will look at ways of identifying and establishing markets for a particular work and the means of carrying out effective market research.

Part One...

Read Part Two...

Other articles:

On Keeping a Writer's Notebook

The Art of The Review

© Marcus Niski 1999-2005