Posted by: nancyisanders | March 10, 2009

Book In A Month Club: Retrain Your Brain

Have you landed a book contract this past year by submitting your completed manuscript to a publisher? No? Neither have I. I’ve submitted plenty, though. You probably have, too.

However, I currently have seven–yes seven–book deadlines marked on my calendar to work on in 2009. I landed all seven contracts before I wrote the book.

So, do you want to try it, too? Then resist the urge right now to send a query about a manuscript you already wrote to the publishers you’re targeting for the Book In A Month Club. With that approach, you are in essence looking for a publisher that is a good fit for your own manuscript idea.

Retrain your brain. Learn to look for ideas that will be a good fit for a publisher.

Let’s study publishers’ online book catalogs and try to brainstorm 3-5 brand new unique ideas that could be a good fit for each different publisher. Can you see the difference in this approach? In essence, with this approach you are looking for an idea that is a good fit for a publisher. (Instead of vice versa.)

This year, for our Book In A Month Club, let’s send out queries to try to land a contract before we write the book. Use the post from last week, One Hour Today, as a guide. Then, if the publisher rejects your query and you have a manuscript you want to submit to them, go ahead. Or if they request a proposal and offer you a contract based on your query, after your first book is under your belt with them, offer them your already written manuscript as a second book option.

What should you do if a publisher responds and requests a proposal? Check back in and I’ll tell you what I do next.


  1. Nancy, this is a little more of a general question but I think it may still fit the book-in-a-month topic. I definitely like this approach better because now you’re only doing the actual writing work if you get a yes. But I’m wondering…I know a lot of publishers are being really picky right now due to budget cuts. Do you feel they are still looking at newbie authors as they might once have? I’m starting to see a lot more of “agents or published authors only, please.” I think for someone like yourself who has such an amazing track record, the more you publish the more you will get published. Would you mind commenting on that? I hope I’m wrong!!

  2. Yes, I still feel plenty of publishers are looking for new voices. In fact there are number of publishers who actually prefer working with new authors because especially right now they can’t offer seasoned authors a higher pay cut above their regular contracts, which a seasoned author might expect. The bottom line is that you only have to find one publisher right now to land a contract with. Try to just skip over those publishers who require an agent. Really focus your energies on connecting with a publisher who is open to new authors. There are lots out there…really!

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