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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Selling A Book - Pre-requisites

Okay, You have written your masterpiece. Now, how do you go about selling it to a publisher? There are some pre-requisites that are must-haves before you start even approaching the publishers. They are Cover letter, Synopsis, Sample chapters and Chapter outline.

Every publisher will ask you for at least two or more of the above, and it's best if you prepare these in advance to avoid wasting time later.

A cover letter is self-explanatory. It should be short, crisp and to the point. Introduce yourself, introduce your book by way of a blurb on what it is about and pleasantly ask them to consider it for publication.

Next comes the Synopsis. This is the most important marketing tool you have as an author when it comes to selling the book. The synopsis is what is the face of your book and will either the close or open the doors of the publishing house to you. Therefore pay utmost attention to the Synopsis. It is no easy task by any means. Especially for the author since he has done the painstaking work of writing the novel and more often than not thinks that it is just impossible to fit the entire story in such a short space. But that is what you have to do precisely. Don't bother about the nitty-gritties, put all the major plots and subplots and please don't make it a teaser. The entire story should unfold in the Synopsis including the ending. The publishers usually have submission guidelines for everything including the synopsis. Follow them. In short even though it is cliched I would like to say that make it like a skirt, short enough to maintain interest and long enough to cover all the details.

Next is the Sample chapters. The publishers or their editors want to see your writing style and for this reason they ask for sample chapters. Therefore pick up a couple of chapters and polish them like you were going to print straightaway and keep them ready. These along with the synopsis will ultimately help the publisher decide whether your book is good enough for them.

Lastly some publishers will also ask for chapter outline. This is to see if your work flows in a rational manner or not. This is also a complicated task because each chapter needs to be condensed into three or four lines without really losing the plot and the flow of the story.

There are many resources online which give tips on how to go about producing the above pre-requisites of selling your book. Go through as many as possible and then take a call about how you want to go about it. If you are a first time author be very particular about these things because this is what will decide if you are ever going to be a published author.

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