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Prepping for Your Acceptance Call

Apr 26, 2023

The amount of information you need to have about your book, once it’s completed, can be a little overwhelming. There are two major categories: The Physical and the Market.

For the physical, look at your word count. Better yet, explore the genre where you will probably wind up and what is the expected word count. For middle grade it’s at least 30,000. Now, writing to meet specifications can really take the wind out of your sales, however, having a target is wonderful. My first draft of The Zing Fling was 22,000 words long in a 30,000 minimum genre – whoops.

What is the physical size of your book cover, and therefore you book? Oak Line Press provides 3 choices for the basic package, 5.5” x 8.5”; 6” x 9”; 8” x 8.”

Now we are getting into the market area. Why is size so important? There is a cost element, the smaller the book, the more pages and that increases your costs. Also, there are industry standards and the expectations of those pesky readers. Another factor is the shelf sizes your book will be sold from… that’s those pesky book sellers… so your really need to go with the flow here.

There are a few reasons to pick up a few Comp Books, that’s the competition, but also, it’s a comparison for physical requirements. You must know the genre of your book – figure that part out early on.

Your comps are helpful for many of the marketing aspects. Find successful books that are in your selected genre to see what they do with sizing, artwork, colors, fonts, graphics on the outside cover and inside the novel. Trust me, I never imagined having to think about all these things while writing my first book. Turns out when the writing is done… ish, there’s a lot more to think about.

There is copy to be written for the back cover, as well as on your dustcover panels. Can you explain your story in three or four sentences? No, well if you don’t, you’ll have to pay someone who can because that’s all the room you’ll have on your back cover. Back to your comps on this one.

Getting your manuscript edited is critical to getting accepted for publication. Start with friends and family and beg them for honest feedback. If they get lost in the story or have questions about things that were unanswered, you need to know. Finding grammar and spelling errors is extremely helpful. I had two different paid editors look at The Zing Fling and was blessed that one of them looked at the content and gave me great suggestions to enhance the story. You pay extra for that kind of editing and then you are under the gun to make the changes.

Then there is your author bio, check out the Blog Writing an Author’s Bio.

When your manuscript has been written and properly edited, it’s time to fill out your form and there are several questions in there about these sorts of things. The first time I saw the questionnaire – I panicked a bit… hadn’t given any of it any thought. My message to you is just keep these things in mind and make notes as you go along so you’ll be much better prepared.