In addition to my writing for Red Line Editorial, I’ve also been working at getting some of my own book manuscripts out there. I’m submitting one of these manuscripts to publishers while I market a few others to agents. Whether I’m submitting to agents or editors, I have to find a good match that isn’t too close. Let me explain.
The chapter book that I’m submitting to publishers is about a boy who wants a pet scorpion, but ends up with a hermit crab he doesn’t really know how to care for. To find a potential publisher I need to match:
Fiction vs nonfiction. Some publishers do one but not the other. I need to find a fiction publisher for this particular manuscript.
Level. Not everyone is interested in chapter books so I have to find a publisher that not only wants this step between begining reaaders and middle grave novels. At this point, I’m still submitting only to those who want chapter books. Later I may expand to publishers who want “all levels.”
Category. A publisher who only does science fiction or fantasty would be a bad match for this. I need to find someone who does contemporary fiction. So much of my fiction is fantasy that this means studying new-to-me markets.
Finding a match with just these three areas isn’t too difficult but then you have to consider the last two — belief system and gap.
Belief system. I have to find a publisher who is interested in hermit crabs. That isn’t too tough. A lot of publishers have books on hermit crab care but that is a problem. In my story, my character decides not to keep a hermit crab because they are all captured in the wild. A publisher who is teaching kids how to keep a hermit crab as a pet probably won’t adore this idea.
Gap. Or, is there a space on this publisher’s list for my book? If I know that a publisher is pro-hermit crab, that’s good. The problem is that if the publisher has a hermit crab book, there may not be room for another. A picture book but no chapter book? That might be gap enough.
Fingers cross that I find just the right match. If not, the problem may be that I don’t have a topic that is marketable on a national scale. For more on how to find local topics with national appeal, check out my post today on the Muffin.