|Am I ready for my publishing audition?|
The publishing proposal contains several elements. (I appreciate smaller/indie publishers etc. probably do things differently, as do other countries - hello my American friends! - but this is roughly how it goes for an agented author approaching a UK publisher).
- a full plot synopsis in one or two pages
- an author profile about the writer and their writing
- a list of books published in the last few years which are comparable to the manuscript in question (and which preferably have been bestsellers!)
- a discussion of marketing opportunities
- detailed chapter synopses
- the sample chapters of the manuscript
I have to admit I've struggled a bit with this. I enjoyed the chapter synopses, because all writers know the frustration of writing the full synopsis - distilling 90 000 words of plot into a 500 word summary - and so it was nice to be able to put a bit more detail on the bones. I quite like writing synopses - it's the scientist in me, used to writing abstracts! - but it can be disheartening to reduce your lovingly-crafted prose into bland facts that always seem to make your book sound dull. David (my agent) has sent me away to re-write my full synopsis, which has led to a marked increase in chocolate consumption in my writing room, and we're still debating how many sample chapters to send (my chapters are very short), but the area I've struggled with most has been marketing. I'm really not sure what to say. Arrange an all-expenses paid book tour of the UK and I promise to be good and smile nicely at people? Hmmmm...
Being ready to approach publishers is tantalisingly close now. The fear of not getting a publishing deal (statistically quite likely) hasn't hit home yet, so I'm merely impatient to get it going! It'd be great to have it sent out by the time my three month agent-iversary comes round (I accepted the offer on the 19th November - two weeks to go!), but perhaps I'm being naive.
In the meantime, I've stopped dithering and thinking of other things I could be doing and have written the opening pages to my next novel, with the working title, Derailed. Great to be creating something new at last!
Have you had any experience of marketing to share with me? Do you like synopses or loathe them?