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Information For Writers

Finding a publisher for fiction manuscripts

The current climate
Publishing is an industry and, like any other industry, is driven by marketplace forces. Factors affecting publishers must be taken into account, for example:

maintaining their competitive edge and reputation
the drive to maximise returns
global trends in publishing and bookselling.

Publishers’ expectations of a novel manuscript have changed dramatically in the last few years. In the recent past, publishers’ readers assessed a manuscript in the light of what a specialist editor, publisher and author would be able to develop from it, working together. In today’s climate, creating a well-edited, well-written finished work may no longer be adequately funded within the publishing house, and the writer who makes their creative work as finished, polished and readable as possible is the writer with the edge.

When to seek readers
Work in progress is subject to daily flux. Its major elements (plot, structure, voice, style, characterisation) are likely to be unclear and constantly changing. It is a mistake to show your work to any readers at this stage. Praise stills the necessary flow and criticism kills it. Only when your work is nearing its final draft should you seek criticism, first from friends, then academic/critic/writer friends, and finally independent readers. Involving independent readers in the final stage of writing will alert you to any problems to which you may have become desensitised.

This is the most important developmental stage for your manuscript. The redrafts you make in response to trialling the book with selected readers are likely to be the most valuable.

Grammar - creative or conventional?


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