Simon Kolz

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28 Reasons Why Publishers Will Buy Your Book

Editors will buy a book for one or more of the following reasons. By knowing what these reasons are, you can then design a marketing plan with those features in mind.

1. The author’s previous books have sold well.

2. They love a book and think it will sell.

3. They think a book will sell.

4. They love it enough to publish, regardless of its commercial potential.

5. It’s a book that deserves to be published because of its value to a cause or the country.

6. An editor is passionate enough about it to overcome any doubts the house may have about the book.

7. A new editor has arrived from another house and its building a list.

8. The publisher has the opportunity to reflag a successful author from another house.

9. The book will be the first in a series with strong growth potential.

10. The idea for the book is brilliant.

11. The idea for the book is timely.

12. The writing is superb.

13. The title alone will sell books.

14. An author’s promotion plan guarantees a book’s success.

15. The author is a media magnet who can guarantee enough publicity to make a book successful.

16. The author has a national platform such as a column or a radio or television show that will guarantee continuing exposure for the book.

17. The publisher thinks that a book will back list and become an evergreen (like evergreen tree — sells for long long time).

18. The book has subsidiary rights potential including book clubs, audio cassettes or foreign, electronic or movie rights.

19. The book has adoption potential in schools or universities.

20. The house has published similar books with success.

21. The book is on a subject that the house has or wants to build a list in.

22. Overcome by auction fever, publishers convince themselves that, despite the profit-and-loss statement rated to determine a book’s value, they pay whatever it takes to outbid their rivals.

23. The author wants to switch houses.

24. The editor discovers a book on a trip to a book fair and thinks it will sell, or is caught up in the excitement surrounding a book, or wants to justify the trip.

25. The publisher is sending the industry the message that because of new management or despite changes in the house, the houses a player.

26. The book being sold may not be a big one, but future books will have bestseller potential.

27. The author has a personal connection with someone in the house with the power to buy the book.

28. Publishing the book will enhance the house’s prestige.

This is not a definitive list. John Saul, a novelist, observed if publishers don’t want to buy a book, they say “It’s been done to death.” If they do want to buy that book, they’ll say, “Always works.”

(c) copyright 2004, Catherine Franz. All rights reserved.

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