Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Study Your Genre

Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books for teens in lots of weird genres like, fantasy (Blood of Kings trilogy), science fiction (Replication), and dystopian (The Safe Lands trilogy). Find Jill on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or on her author website.

I was working in the mentoring clinic at a writers conference this summer and a conferee came up to me. I said, "Hi! Are you looking for me?" And she said, "No. But can I talk to you?" I laughed and said, "Sure!"

She bubbled over with the story of what had happened to her. She told me that a respected literary agent just offered to represent her from two things. 1. The author had already met with an editor who was excited about her manuscript and asked for the full. So the agent knew that. 2. The agent read 15 pages of her book and that was enough.

Man!

I said, "Whoa! Congratulations! That NEVER happens."

And it doesn't usually.

Then I asked her what made her story different from others. She was such a new author that she didn't know how to communicate it, but she did say that she'd read every book that publishing house had ever published in the historical genre.

Every one.

And that's why she was successful. Yes, she learned to write and tell a good story. But she had also studied her market in a huge way. She knew her genre. She knew her competition. And she knew how to make her story different.

Sold.

Nice, huh?

If you're not sure what genre you're writing or where it might sell, read. Seriously. Your book should fit somewhere, or it will be difficult to get it published. So, find the books that are somewhat similar in genre to yours. Read them. Keep track of how your book is similar and different. Doing this will help you discover which publishers are right for you. And you'll go a long way towards getting yourself published traditionally.

If you're not sure how to know who published a book, look at the logo on the spine. (I had to turn over some books because the logo was at the top and not the bottom.)



Or look at the bottom of the inside title page.


Take some time to make a list of publishers from the books on your shelves. Then go to your local library or Barnes & Noble and write down some more. Use this list to help you figure out which publishers would be the best fit for your book.

What did you discover? Which publishers might be right for your book? 

24 comments:

  1. WHOA! That's an amazing story, Jill! (I highly doubt--even if I did read, read, read--I would get something like that!) Ok, I gotta go look at the logos. I know that my genre is Christian YA/Christian Fiction... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have you read the River of Time series by Lisa T Bergren? I don't know what kind of Christian YA you want to write but this is a fantastic series! Warning though they are major cliffhangers :).

      Delete
    2. No, I guess I should go look for them! :)

      Delete
    3. The River of Time books were published by David C Cook.

      Delete
  2. That's cool. With the whole publishing thing, I think the only thing I've done was pick up a copy of Christian Writer's Market and look at the publishers for different genres.Guess I better find some time to read! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The writers market guides are great too, Samuel.

      Delete
  3. That would be soooo exciting. Just reading it made me smile, imagining how happy she must have been :)
    This is a really cool idea. I *think* I write speculative fiction, but I'm not entirely sure. I'll have to get reading :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She was excited, which was why she randomly started talking to me. She had to tell someone! LOL

      Delete
  4. That is a cool idea! Thanks, I'll have to try that sometime. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Woah that's amazing! And a good learning tip I would say. I never really look that intensely at the publishing houses of the books I read, but I can see how that would be very valuable!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Such a good idea! I'll have to do this... right now from what I can tell... Thomas Nelson, and Zondervan would be two good publishing companies for me.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks, Mrs. Williamson! I had been wondering recently if you were or were not supposed to read in your genre. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's very important. Though there are writers out there who don't, it's pretty rare. At least to start. Once you're Nicolas Sparks, you can just keep on doing what you're doing. But he had to start somewhere too, once upon a time.

      Delete
    2. Haha, yup, when you're that popular you don't, but since I am still a nobody...;-)

      Delete
  8. As usual this is another great post! Good to have you guys back, missed having GTW a part of my day-to-day life!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Emma. :-) We missed you guys too.

      Delete
  9. Niceee post! I think about different publishers all the time. I'm in love with Thomas Nelson's stuff. They're cover designs are astounding, they're well known amongst Christian publishers, their book trailers give a professional feel... If I wasn't doing a Christian publisher, I'd probably go for Scholastic. Simple logo for the spine, known as publisher for Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and a bunch of other well known books. If not them, then Harper Collins. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. btw nice book choices: Ranger's Apprentice, Replication, Heroes of Olympus, and...The Book Thief? Which one on the shelf is the one published by Thomas Nelson? I don't recognize that one.

      Delete
    2. Broken Wings by Shannon Dittemore.

      Delete
    3. And, Jenneth, one thing. Scholastic does publish books, but mostly, they pick up and republish famous books. They are not the original publisher of Harry Potter. HP was first published by Bloomsbury in London. They did buy the American rights and publish it under their Arthur A. Levine Books imprint. HG was first published by Scholastic, though.

      It is said that an author for the childrens/YA market hasn't really made it big until Scholastic picks up one of their books for the school book fairs. Though I've talked with an author whose books was picked up by Scholastic and she started making a lot more money, she says she still hasn't made it big since her book was a specialty holiday book for kids.

      Delete
    4. Hmm, I didn't know that. Will keep that in mind. Thanks! :)

      Delete
  10. I have in my mind Shadow Mountain or Zondervan--I'd prefer Shadow Mountain since, unfortunately, I haven't been too impressed with what I've read from Zondervan. (Some of them I've really liked--others, definitely not so much.) But then, I haven't read much by Shadow Mountain. Who knows?

    I'm thinking you have something on this blog about this already, but if you don't, would you or Stephanie be willing to post on the topic of character journaling?

    ReplyDelete

Home