The writer should be clear on what age group he is writing for. Is his topic more suitable for the children’s market than the adult market or is it something that has wide appeal? What reading level is he shooting for? Is he interested in writing fiction or non fiction, poetry or memoirs?
Target the Subject
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Once the writer has identified his audience, some research on his topic is in order. Whether he is writing an article about saving New England’s stone walls or a novel set in 20th century Denmark, subject research is essential. Refining the idea with research strengthens the work and makes it more attractive to an editor. Research resources abound and include, internet and print searches and networking with other writers and experts on the chosen topic.
Target the Competition
The writer has chosen a topic he feels is marketable based on tips from e commerce web developers and now it is time to take a look at the competition. What is he up against? What books and articles are in print that are similar to his idea? When were they published? What is the slant? And, perhaps the most important question the writer should ask himself, how can I make my work stand out from the crowd?
A quick internet search will give him an idea what other articles, books, essays or poems are out there that are on or similar to his chosen topic. University libraries online, the Library of Congress as well as Amazon can help the writer narrow down his options. Conversations with librarians, teachers, and experts in the field the writer is interested in can also be helpful in choosing a marketable topic.
Target the Publisher
The writer has done all the leg work. He’s settled on a subject, he knows who his audience is and what the competition is. The next step is finding the right publisher, one who is waiting for just the right manuscript. If the writer takes the time to research the market, that perfect manuscript may be his. There are market guides for almost any type of writing, market guides for children’s literature, market guides for adult fiction and non fiction, magazine market guides, poetry market guides and market guides for religious based work. They can be found in print and on the web.
Once the writer has found the right market guide for him, he uses it to narrow his search. He checks the category index, usually found in the back of the market guide and finds the one that most closely matches his work. From there, he narrows it down to possible publishers. He reads the publishers’ guidelines to see who is looking for the type of work he is hoping to sell. Find more here. The next thing the writer may want to do is peruse samples of the publication’s work; books they published or in the case of the magazine market, articles, short stories and poems that have appeared in recent issues.
Submit the Manuscript
The writer has done his homework. He has targeted his audience, his subject, and his competition. He has researched the market and studied the publishers he has targeted. Now it is time to submit his work, confident in the knowledge that he has done all he could do to reach his ultimate goal of publication.
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