The 5 biggest questions that publishers ask before they buy your manuscript are:
- Is your topic current?
- Is your topic differentiated from every other book that is already out there?
- Will people be interested in this topic, and if so, what is the size of the market?
- How extensive is the author’s publicity platform?
- Do the numbers add up?
In this economy, the marketing departments are counting every bean to see if the numbers justify the purchase of your title. Even if you find an Acquisitions Editor who absolutely loves your book, if the numbers don’t add up to the satisfaction of the publisher’s marketing department or the book buyer from Barnes & Noble, your book is toast.
Here’s how the math breaks down: Publicity = Eyeballs, and Eyeballs = Sales
Picture this scenario: The book buyer from Barnes and Noble meets with a publishing house to decide which books he is going to order for BN for the upcoming season. He takes out his computer and starts asking questions about each title. What he really wants to know is: What is the size of the target market for your book and how big is your platform? The book buyer then writes the stats down for your book and compares them against every other book he is considering. The books with the biggest numbers win.
4 Tips to Build Your Numbers
- In the “About the Market” section of your proposal, include real numbers (strong and clear statistical evidence) to show how large the market is for your book. For example, in addition to mentioning every legitimate market for your book, think about specific associations who would be interested in your topic and include the size of each of their national memberships in this section.
- Contact movers and shakers who have large email lists and ask them if they would be willing to send out an email message blast to announce your book when it comes out. Find out the size of each list and include this data in the Promotions section of your Book Proposal.
- Blog like crazy and include the number of your connections on Linked In, your Facebook Fan page, and all other social media sites in the Promotions section of your Book Proposal.
- Speak, speak, speak. Publishers want you to be in front of eyeballs way before your book comes out. Get out there and speak or teach seminars or teleclasses. Include all of this info. in the Promotions section of your Book Proposal.
If you can prove your publicity platform, justify the market, and write a book that adds something new and different, you’ve got a potential winner on your hands. So get out there and build your numbers!