What Makes a Good Book in the Eyes of a Publisher?

That is one of the magic questions isn't it? So many authors ask some version of it every day.

In all reality, there's not a lot of magic. If you want a publisher to sign you and your book you have to have a book they think will sell. What kind of book is that?

Quill Driver Books founder/acquisition editor Steve Mettee provides an answer in this month's Book Business Magazine:“People ask me what works,” he says. “The No. 1 thing you have to have is good books. If you are competing with the big guys out in New York, they’ve got good books—well-thought-out, good content, well-edited, well-written, easy to read. If you don’t have that, it’s just not going to sell.”

So simple, yet so elusive. While no one can guarantee something will sell or be selected for publishing, following this list is certainly a huge step in the right direction. Does polishing take time, effort, maybe a fair amount of money (to pay an editor for example)? Probably, but if you want to compete, it must be 100% and sometimes more. The competition is just too great to do anything less.

The rest of the interview with Mettee is informative as well, I encourage you to check it out here.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


Rabid Fox said...

The advice comes off as vague and uninformative, but it's hard to argue it's validity. What makes a good book? Not sucking. It's almost ingenious. Hard to adhere to at times, perhaps. :)

Steve Mettee said...

Cheryl, Nice, informative blog!

Rabid Fox: It is hard to adhere to. One thing you can do is to ask yourself (and others), "What can I do to make this book more useful to the reader?"

The answer might be to loosen up on the language to make it a more friendly read or to include some charts that illustrate whatever it is you're trying to get across.

Cheryl Pickett said...

From your comment, it sounds like you may be further along in your understanding of publishing than some people.

I write for authors who are at various stages of publishing and this one is mainly aimed those who think their work is a masterpiece, that it should sell/be picked up almost without question in their mind. They feel they know it all, have no need for professional writing/editing advice. Yet they wonder why/ complain they can't find a publisher/sell many copies.

I liked Steve's quote because not only does it say "don't suck" it gives some direction. While you might be thinking "duh", amazingly enough, even the term "well" edited will turn the light bulb on for some folks.

Steve, so glad you stopped by! Thank you for your kind words and for adding to the conversation. Feel free to pop in anytime :-)