How Marketable is Your Manuscript & Where? – Orr What? Wednesday

Market imageIs your goal to be published by a traditional print publisher? If your answer is yes, you must evaluate your manuscript in terms of what that marketplace demands. To do otherwise is less savvy than you need to be on your own behalf.

If your goal is commercial print publication you must be aware of the realities of that choice for the sake of your own psyche. Otherwise, you render yourself vulnerable to loss of effort and energy and worst of all hope – which can be disastrous to your psyche.

The first reality you must be aware of is this. The publishing market is super-cautious now. Skittish beyond its customary skittishness. Work that veers very far from customary publishing category expectations will have a rough time finding welcome.

The exception – a manuscript that is a truly extraordinary market-buster blockbuster bestseller masterpiece. Does this describe your work? Eliminate ego. Eliminate parental pride in your creation. Be hard of nose and heart and make a clearheaded judgment from that objective place.

Submitting your work now is looking for a job in a low-availability environment. Looking for the job of published author. Think in terms of making yourself and your work as attractive as possible within that narrow avenue of possibility. This effort begins with the work itself.

You must always submit only your very best work. That is extra valid now. Don’t expect an agent or editor to see through your imperfect manuscript to your perfect talent beneath. Editors are looking for perfection visible. Agents follow suit because they look for what editors want.

Your first marketplace search is most likely for an agent. Ask yourself, “What does this agent prefer to represent? Can I accommodate my work to those preferences?”

Research those preferences. Turn first to the internet. Does the agent have a website? Who does she represent and what do they write? Google the agent for articles written and statements made. What does she tell you there?

This is a sleuthing exercise. You must investigate – investigate – investigate. If you have your own sleuthing tricks or come up with some along the way share them with others. Don’t forget that all boats rise together.

What editors and publishers are looking for is an easier search. Check publisher websites. Google individual editors. Remember that the reception of an unsolicited – unagented – manuscript will be less welcoming than a solicited one via an agent.

Some publishers won’t consider unsoliciteds at all. I say, “Send it along anyway. What’s to lose? Except maybe that time, energy and psyche strength I mentioned?” So be aware that this is a Hail Mary and adjust your expectations accordingly.

Through all of this sleuthing and strategizing and planning – you are making lists with your manuscript always in mind. Where might it be most marketable? Who might find it most intriguing? What should you pitch most prominently to each target in order to maximize your chances of luring them into the lair of your work?

Do all of this with high ambition and a courageous heart and you will also maximize your marketability. And always – keep on writing whatever may occur.


A Wrong Way Home – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 1 – the eBook – is FREE at It’s also FREE at Barnes & Noble and iTunes and KOBO and other online platforms. A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book #2 – is $2.99 at These are my 12th and 13th novels. They were written for the non-traditional marketplace which is your other publishing option. Alice


7 thoughts on “How Marketable is Your Manuscript & Where? – Orr What? Wednesday

    1. Always onward and upward Pamela. Sometimes we get a bit weary of that demanding trail and must go to ground for a bit. That’s when I turn to my writer friends for a pep talk and a boost. This is a demanding road we walk and it can be discouraging too. We need each other and I am always wonderfully heartened to see us step up for each other as we repeatedly do. Blessings. Alie

    1. Hello Nancy. Wonderful to hear from you. We have to keep in warrior mode on behalf of ourselves and think our way through every move we make. It is part of the responsibility we must take for our own careers. I hope all is well with you and I look forward to hearing from you again soon. Alice

    1. You are very right about the no-guarantee factor Liz. I heard April Eberhardt say an interesting thing recently and I repeat it here. You need to set time limits when it comes to approaching the traditional publishing market. She suggested a year to find an agent and a year for that agent to find a publisher for your work. After that she suggests indie publishing the work yourself. I have to say I agree with her heartily. Otherwise it is possible or even likely to spin your wheels for such a long time awaiting a traditional house spot that you create a setback lag in your career. Thanks so much for bringing up this issue. I may even do a separate post on the subject. Alice

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