NSW Writers’ Centre. I had a fantastic time and met so many people. One panel discussed what publishers are looking for today and tomorrow. On the panel were Lisa Berryman of Harper Collins, agent Brian Cook, Zoe Walton of Random House, Sue Whiting of Walker Books and Angie Schiavone, a YA literary reviewer. Below are some of the points I’d like to share with you:
A good story: It was universally agreed that it comes down to a great story. There’s little point looking for trends because once you’ve identified one it’s too late. For example, one publisher said no more vampire stories. If you have a vampire story then it would have to be exceptional with a strong voice, fantastic characters and freshness to the story. In other words, if you have something special you’ll make your own market.
A career author: Publishers aren’t looking for one story writers. They spend a lot of time and effort on an author and their work so they want to know they are investing into a career. Initially they may commit to only one book but they want to know if that book could be used as a series. You don’t have to have written that series, but it would be advantageous to include a brief synopsis of future books along with the completed first book. Even if the book you’ve written isn’t a series, they would like to know you have other stories in the works.
Marketability: Show you’ve researched the market, that your book has a place in the market. Network. Get involved in social media, writers’ events and writers’ groups. Writers should come out of their cocoons and show they can make a connection with their readers.
What are some things you’ve done to become more marketable? What else do you think publishers are looking for?