why me? why you?
In order to make his or her work as strong as it can be---whether the goal is self-publication, or mainstream---a writer should seek the guidance of a professional who has significant experience in traditional book acquisitions and marketing.
If you are "writing for yourself", you can stop reading. However, if your dream is to "break out" and be discovered by thousands (and thousands) of book buyers…or if you have flights of fancy in which you imagine yourself checking your book’s Amazon ranking each day, watching the sales figures rise into the the top 100, and higher…then...get out your manuscript, we've got some work to do.
The point is this: whether you choose to query literary agents, or to publish through Amazon, et.al., you and the big mainstream publishers share the very same goal: to sell lots of books to lots of strangers.
In the end, the fatal weaknesses that send a query or manuscript to a literary agent's rejection pile, are the same fatal flaws in a self-published book that lead to disappointed readers, negative online reviews, and minuscule book sales.
Before sending out agent queries seeking traditional publication--- or designing your book jacket, for self-publication---you owe it to yourself and your hard work, to get a reality check from a publishing professional on the quality and marketability of your manuscript. And be picky. Hundreds of freelance "editors" have hung out their shingles. Choose one of the few highly experienced publishing experts who has years of in-house experience acquiring manuscripts, and marketing and selling books.
Unlike fellow writers, friends, and beta readers who give you 'constructive criticism' on the content of your work; and unlike "freelance editors" with no publishing experience who might provide corrections and enhancements to the narrative and the line-by-line language; the experienced book publishing professional will ask, and help you answer, the most important question of all, if you want your published book to sell:
"Is my manuscript good enough to leave readers buzzing and reaching for their checkbooks? And, if it is not mind-blowing, how can I revise and rewrite it so that it will be?"
Most emerging writers have no grasp of the "lofty requisites" of the large readership they are trying to reach . When prospective clients are seeking a sample review from me, I ask them to compare their book to one or two bestselling books in their genre. In response, many writers cite authors and/or books that inspired (or bear similarities to} their own work, whether or not those "comparable" books have been bestsellers. Wrong answer.
Do your homework on bestselling books in your genre and model the quality of content and the targeted market of your manuscript on an already proven winner.
An editorial review from a professional who has no book publishing experience, will make a manuscript stronger; however, making a manuscript stronger does not make it more sellable. Far from it.
If you are striving to sell copies of your book, and not simply see the pages in print, it is imperative that your manuscript be critiqued by a publishing professional who grasps the attributes of bestselling books in your genre. Even if your manuscript has been "edited" already, if that editor has no experience acquiring manuscripts; and publishing, marketing, and selling books, it is time to find one who does.
After all, there are mountains to climb.
With my unique 25+ year career in New York book acquisitions, marketing, and selling, I can provide invaluable ‘one stop’ expertise in an overall marketing assessment of your manuscript, and/or an in-depth developmental edit of your manuscript.
As you aim for the highest peaks, you should have an experienced publishing guide who is capable of showing you how to recognize and develop the necessary attributes of all best-selling fiction and non-fiction:
** A fresh and engaging narrative "voice"
** A compelling subject
** A dramatic (and climatic) narrative/storyline
** A lively narrative cadence filled with 'surprising twists'
** Richly-detailed scene painting
** Eloquent descriptive prose
** Resonant and convincing dialogue (in every genre, not just fiction!)
To fortify one's original work with these essential dynamics often involves embarking upon an endeavor that can be as difficult, as it is thrilling.
Only a few possess the editorial expertise and the marketing vision to lead a writer on such a journey. I am one of those few.