By: Amanda Gochez
By the power of something amazing (at least that’s what I tell myself) you turned all your ideas into a manuscript! But there are questions you need to answer while you are researching literary agents and publishers. I recommend writing down your questions as you research what to do next (after you answer these questions, read my blog “What Now?” to get some advice on that subject).
- What genre is your novel?
- What is the length of your novel?
- Who is your target audience? — this is a big deal.
The genre of your novel seems like a pretty basic question, but you need this answered before you start researching because once again, agents and publishers might not take it. Why is the length important? Well, some agents and publishers only accept a certain word count. For example, if your novel is 40,000 words, but you want to submit to UrbanEdge Publishing, you will need to up that word count about 20,000. Yes, required word count is 60,000 for a novel for UrbanEdge. It is why it is so important to research and read the submission guidelines.
But, the most important, helpful, needed question is, who is your target audience? The audience is linked with the genre of your manuscript. You’ll need to pinpoint the major topics talked about in your book, pick three of them. For instance: love, abuse, and college education. Let’s say Mary Golding is a bright blue eyed twenty-year-old who just escaped the maddening hands of her stepfather. All she has ever known is abuse when all she wanted is love. She applies to college across the country based on a scholarship she has received, and she runs. What she didn’t know was that she was running into the arms of something she always wanted-love. And let’s say the title of the book is: Chasing Chances
Also, side note: Depending on how graphic the abuse is could determine your audience.
Let’s say you don’t detail the abuse, there are not any adult (two people aren’t coloring if you catch my drift) scenes, so you can rule out your book is erotica. Maybe it’s a young adult romance because there is nothing better than young love! So, who would read Chasing Chances? Once again, research. You find this manuscript to be appealing to young women around 16-24 years old. Target audience is key because if you market and advertise your book for men and women between 30-60…well the outcome wouldn’t be what you want. You might have better luck with older women, but usually older women like the books that involve a little coloring or shading (wink, wink).
Like I’ve been saying- Research is everything. If you don’t research, you won’t get far with your manuscript. Genre, length, audience. Those are important key factors when submitting to agents/publishers. They will ask who your audience is and if they read your book and you said it was historical when really it’s a paranormal thriller based in the 1800’s, you’ll probably get rejected. Because the submission guidelines clearly stated non-fiction historical, political, and memoir are the only genre’s they are accepting.
It’s simple-do your homework, find your audience, and cross those fingers.