Publishers’ Decisions Criteria

While I certainly would never presume to represent every publisher and what criteria is used to decide which property to publish, I know there are some criteria that publishers who care whether or not a book sells use.

  • Will the book topic appeal to enough readers to make a profit? (This is about the size of the market of potential buyers.)
  • What are the credentials of the author? (This is a question even in fiction–look at the biography of  Patricia Cornwell.)
  • How much editing will the book need? (Editing costs money, so the better shape your manuscript is in, the better your chances of appealing to the publishing house’s decision maker.)
  • What is the author willing to do to create a buzz about–and sell–the book? (Remember that publishing is business and whether you invest in yourself or sell your intellectual property to a publisher, someone has to recover that cost of producing the book.)
  • What’s the competition for the book? (If someone with a platform–a speaker, consultant, celebrity, for example–has written a similar book, the public will hear about and buy it before buying a book written by an unknown.)

At Expert Publishing, we don’t accept every manuscript presented to us.  Oh sure, we could take author’s money (like the Internet puppy mill presses do), and publish books we know will fail, but that would diminish the quality of every author we publish and we’re just not willing to do that.

We ask questions about how the author is going to market the book. Why do we ask that since we don’t get a portion of the sale? Because if the author goes into publishing thinking of it as business instead of dream fulfillment, the author will approach the entire project differently and be thinking about sales. The more books the author sells, the happier the author is and the quicker we reprint!

Write with your marketplace in mind, and keep in mind the first place you’ll “sell” your book is to a publisher who doesn’t publish everything submitted to them.

Happy writing!


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