How to get published
PUBLISHED: 09:00 15 March 2014
Ronnie Goodyer and Dawn Bauling of Indigo Dreams Publishing give their top tips for getting into print
It’s said that everyone has a book inside them. But how do you get that masterpiece noticed in a crowded market? Devon Life asked Ronnie Goodyer and Dawn Bauling of publishers Indigo Dreams Publishing Ltd to reveal their secrets and increase your chances of getting into print.
IDP publishes fiction, non-fiction and poetry – including biennial anthologies with Macmillan Cancer Support which attract names such as Carol Ann Duffy, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. Last year Ronnie and Dawn relocated their home and business to Cookworthy Moor, near Holsworthy.
What made you relocate to Devon?
"We look for manuscripts that are well-written and have a hook"
We’ve loved the region for a very long time and it was always our intention to move when work and personal circumstances allowed. Being surrounded by Cookworthy Forest keeps stress at bay and the proximity of Dartmoor and the Devon/Cornwall coast was a deciding factor. The digital age has enabled us to relocate without compromising the business in any way.
What are you looking for when considering submissions?
A submission that engages immediately and goes on to maintain that interest - not with the exhibitionism of a lap-dancer but with the subtle surprise of spice in a meal, one that leaves a lingering taste; a unique style with few wasted words, well written and well constructed.
-Your first contact with a publisher is the first time an impression is formed.
-Most publishers specialise. Make sure they publish your genre
-Publishers can only publish a certain amount of books each year. There must be a reason they wish to fill one of their vacant slots with your work. -You may have to deal with a number of rejections. React professionally to them and don’t burn any bridges you may need in the future.
-Think long and hard about your title. Make it as unique and memorable as you can. Make it stand out.
-If it is non-fiction, ensure you have thoroughly researched your subject
-Let the publisher know if your book has already been self-published.
-Let the publisher know if you have also sent the manuscript elsewhere.
-Niche items like local history, legends, also have a market in the right hands. Family histories less so.
-Ensure that the publisher you approach is open to unsolicited manuscripts – then follow their submission guidelines to the letter.
It must be the final version of the book, dressed in its Sunday best clothes. We look for manuscripts that are well-written and have a hook.
Must authors have a track record before approaching you?
A track record is a great thing to have, but it all started with their first book! We look at the individual work submitted to us as a stand-alone item and decide on that basis alone. We pride ourselves in publishing many first-time writers and allowing them to move to a wider audience.
What qualities do you look for in an author?
We like to see authors that are willing to engage in the selling process to maximise sales, though this really should be second nature. A book is a joint journey with each side knowing their responsibilities. Ideally an author should be willing to visit bookshops and other trade outlets to introduce themselves, be savvy with social media and the internet.
How important is it for authors to tailor their submission to the individual publisher?
The short answer is extremely! Blanket letters and submissions are very easy to spot and do little to create the correct initial impression with any publisher. It is important to capture the publisher’s attention by showing you are aware of their publications and how you fit in.
Apart from the advice already given, what else should authors avoid?
Badly presented manuscripts, spelling and grammar errors, pale copies of best sellers, stilted and clichéd use of language. Lack of enthusiasm for their work – you’d be amazed at how lazily some are presented. Synopses that are rambling and incomplete.
What formats do you offer?
We publish both print (Dawn is a confirmed book-sniffer and IDP will always publish print versions) and digital versions of fiction/non-fiction and, at the moment, print versions only of poetry.
In addition to royalty contracts, do you assist writers who wish to self-publish?
Indeed we do. We have helped a number of writers this way. We have an imprint, Dorcas Imprints, for this purpose. If we like the submission we offer a price for typesetting, editing, formatting and printing. We can help with cover design if required – allocate the ISBN and create the barcode. We also have a new imprint, Tamar Books, which will specialise in books with Devon/Cornwall as its subject matter.
Are you open to submissions and inquiries from the Devon Life subscribers who are reading this?
Indeed we are! We intend to support south-west authors as much as we can and are considering the launch of our inaugural Indigo Literary Festival. We are open to quality submissions of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
Like to see a manuscript in its ‘stepping out’ clothes. Precision in spelling, grammar, punctuation and a good title are like a first kiss – memorable and most likely to get you to a second date.
Like a nicely-worded personal submission, addressed to us alone with our names spelled correctly not Reggie Godyear and Dan Balding.
Appreciate patience in waiting for a reply to an enquiry or email. Nagging will not bring out our soft and fluffy side.
Adore writers who are happy to work hard at promoting their book once published. If you are willing to put on a chicken suit and tour the towns to get your work noticed then we know you mean business.
Like sloppy submissions that try to get our attention by stamping their feet or shouting obscenities at us.
Want a law suit. Writers should be aware of the legalities of putting their work in the public domain and not use their work to settle scores.
Like over-familiarity. Starting a letter with ‘Hey Hun!’ does not endear.
Like name-droppers. It doesn’t matter who you know or where you went to school matters unless it is entirely relevant – a known and respected person who has promised to give you testimonial for the cover.
To find out more about Indigo Dreams Publishing Ltd visit their website indigodreams.co.uk To receive their monthly newsletter send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was first published in the March issue of Devon Life. To get the magazine delivered every month to your home, subscribe at www.subscriptionsave.co.uk/dev or call 08448484217