Notes from the 2008 LDStorymakers Conference
Workshop: Making the Leap
Presenter: Lisa Mangum, Workshop on Friday
Submitted by: Shy Submitter
Five things you can’t control:
1. It’s a business. We look for what’s going to make money. Buying a book in the store is an emotional decision. Buying a manuscript to publish is a business decision.
2. Number of manuscripts submitted in a given year. Deseret Book receives 1500 manuscripts in one year. Of those, 30 are published. [I think this was fiction books?] DB produces 150 products a year, which includes all books, audio, music and paperback reprints.
3. Number of available slots for new authors. DB always has some slots reserved for new authors, but the number varies. In 2006, they published 60 books; 11 were from first time authors.
4. Other manuscripts submitted that are similar to yours. They don’t want to publish two books in the same year that will compete with each other. Don’t write to a trend. They accept 1 to 2 years out, so by the time a trend is identified, it’s over. Be the first of what’s coming next.
5. Her mood. It’s easier to reject a book when the editor is having a bad day. Sending chocolate won’t help. She’ll eat the chocolate, but it doesn’t change her decision.
Five things you can control:
1. Do your homework. Answer these six questions before submitting: a) Am I in the right slush pile? b) Who is going to buy this? Young girls, women, children? c) How is your book different? Know what’s on the market and how your book is different/better. d) What are people buying? Talk to librarians, check best seller lists, etc. e) What is your marketing plan? What special outlets do you have? f) Have I let five honest people give me feedback? People who love you don’t count.
2. Follow posted submission guidelines. Please! Make the envelope easy to open. If you want your manuscript returned, send a big enough envelope.
3. Write a killer cover letter. This is your most important page. This is a business letter. Difference between query and cover letter—query is “I’m writing XYZ. Are you interested?”; cover is longer with more detail, informative. Including some proposed back cover copy is fine. 80 to 85% of the titles are changed, but DO put a title on it.
4. Showcase your talent. Include your writing credentials, writing organizations you belong to (like SCBWI), what you’ve written even if it’s not published, show us you have more than one book in you, that we can get a book a year out of you.
5. Deal with your rejection letters. Any type of personalized comment on a rejection letter is good. They only detail what’s wrong if it was a close call. Keep writing, keep working because you can’t imagine not doing it. “Don’t worry. Don’t hurry. Don’t stop.”
Other miscellaneous things:
It takes about two years from acceptance to published book.
They respond in 10 to 12 weeks; you may call or e-mail after 12 weeks.
If you’ve done significant rewrites, you may resubmit.