Writing an excellent book is one thing; convincing the right publisher is quite another.
As you undertake the quest, it helps to know what the acquisitions process looks like. Here’s an overview of some necessary elements, the gatekeepers, and the typical phases a nonfiction book project must pass through.
● what the book is about
● who it’s for
● why you’re the person to write and help market it
2. Full proposal
A detailed look at the contents of your book, your marketing plan, and the competition.
3. Sample chapters
Two or three complete chapters from the book that represent your best writing.
Your partner in finding the right publisher for your book.
2. Initial reviewer
The first gatekeeper at the publishing company.
3. Acquisitions editor
The person who needs to champion your project for it to survive the acquisitions process.
4. Marketing director
The person who has to be convinced the book will sell sufficient copies.
The final gatekeeper at the publishing company.
Stages of the Acquisitions Process
1. Securing an agent
You find and contract with the agent who can best represent your work to potential publishers.
2. Polishing the proposal
You work with your agent to prepare a convincing summary of your writing to submit to publishers.
3. Submission to the editor
You consult with your agent in choosing one or more publishers to whom your agent will submit your proposal.
4. Responding to the editor’s queries
If the acquisitions editor is interested, he or she may have questions or request revisions to the proposal.
5. Submission to the publisher
If the acquisitions editor likes your proposal, he or she may submit it to a publishing board.
6. Responding to the publisher’s queries
If the publishing board likes your proposal, they may have additional questions or revision suggestions.
7. Contract offer and negotiation
If the publishing board approves your proposal, they will initiate the process of contract negotiation.
Over the next several weeks, I’ll share insights about working through each stage of the process.
Kevin Scott serves as acquisitions editor at Wesleyan Publishing House, where he coaches first-time and experienced authors through the acquisitions and editorial process. Kevin also writes essays about sustainable Christianity at www.kevinscottwrites.com.
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