You’ve finished your award-winning manuscript. You’ve written a synopsis that leaves no doubt that you are a master of the written language and a query letter meant to elicit every emotion possible from the reader. You send these items off to a publisher you know is a perfect fit for your manuscript (assuming the publisher still accepts unsolicited submissions – let’s fantasize a little). Then, to your horror, the publisher passes on your manuscript.
It’s not you, it’s me. Really.
On the Divertir Publishing website we state that we are open to submissions in most genres except erotica. Yet every once in a while I still get approached by someone who wants to submit erotica. I’m told it’s the greatest thing I will ever read – a truly epic love story (just with a lot of sex). I always respond as politely as I can that I’m still not interested and refer people back to the website. What sometimes happens next is interesting to say the least. It’s pointed out to me some of the things I choose to publish (horror, short stories, and poetry) all have smaller markets than erotica. Clearly, I am told, I know little about the book business. Perhaps that’s true, but I do know one thing with certainty.
There are some things I just don’t like to read.
Most books on publishing give the same advice with regards to editorial policy: publish what you like to read. The reason for this is that you’re more likely to get exited about a book you enjoy. And this excitement will be seen by others in everything you do, from selecting the best cover to marketing the book. If, as a publisher, you lack excitement about a book it will be obvious to others. This will effect sales, whether you mean for it to or not.
As the publisher at Divertir, I personally read every manuscript, story and poem before it is accepted for publication. This is because, at the end of the day, I’m the one responsible for what we publish. When a manuscript is in a genre I don’t enjoy, it will be very hard for me to get exited about it. If I can’t get excited about your manuscript then, quite frankly, you don’t want me to be your publisher, because chances are good I’m not going to do everything I can to make it successful. This is one of the reasons we list the genres of particular interest on our website – these are the genres I like to read.
So the next time a publisher passes on your manuscript you should not let it discourage you. It may be something as simple as your manuscript not being their cup of tea. If that’s the case, they’re probably doing you a favor.