Publishing companies started calling for submissions from marginalized authors during the summer protests in 2020 but have done little to actually address the inequities that marginalized authors face. As a teaching press, Ooligan understands how inaccessible even the most basic publishing information is.
Sheila E. Gilbert is just one example of how successful editors do things in the world of publishing. It is a treat to get into the mind of an award-winning editor, since most editors are very private and it’s difficult to find information on them. But they are the wizards who bring the best books to the market.
Oftentimes, developing target audiences can reveal interesting information about how to get the book into the hands of the reader. For example, if members of a target audience are likely to listen to podcasts, then the marketing plan for the book should include some reviews by podcasts they probably listen to.
Writing book proposals can seem intimidating. Writing the book was hard enough, and now you have to get other people to like it too. The number of resources for writing query letters is infinite, with published authors, agents, and publishers all weighing in on what makes a good query letter. But what about the next step—the proposal package?
In the past, the Ooligan blog has posted some great advice about query letters. For those who have never written a query before, you should go check those out first. However, with those resources available, we wanted to dive deeper into some pitch concepts: framing and in-person pitches. While the latter will primarily be of use to those participating in Write to Publish (or similar writing conferences), framing your book correctly is useful in all cases. Doing it correctly can really give your query letter a leg up on the competition.
Last year, a friend of mine was preparing a manuscript to be pitched to publishers and agents. He asked me to read his manuscript beforehand because he believed my editorial experience would provide him with insight regarding the plausibility of his book getting accepted by a publisher or an agent (it doesn’t). I told him the story was enjoyable but in need of structural work. After revising the manuscript twice, he approached me for tips on how to write his query letter, knowing that I’ve been involved with Ooligan. So to help new authors like my friend, I’ve compiled a list of five reminders that are helpful when writing the dreaded query letter.