The perfect fit

So I have finally this week managed to begin the process of getting my head around this whole getting published malarky.

It hasn’t been easy: my to-do list seems to be expanding almost as enthusiastically as my veg patch, and I am still finding the political car crash so horrifically compelling that it is taking almost all my energy to secure the headspace to think about anything else.

But part of my post-Brexit survival plan was to be just a little bit selfish, and with that in mind I sat down in the garden one sunny afternoon with the two books that have sat forlorn and unopened since they arrived in those innocent pre-referendum days and took a look at what they had to offer.


A lot, is the answer.

I started with the Mslexia guide to Indie Presses (thank you Teika for the recommendation). The world of independent publishers is fairly new to me, so I was keen to see what was out there. I scoured each description, marking any that seemed a good fit for either of my completed novels to come back to later.

Once I was sat at my computer, I started a spreadsheet. I wouldn’t normally be quite so rigidly organised about something like this, but the careful structure of the columns and rows helped to still my chaotic mind, and made me believe that I might just possibly be able to do this.

For each publisher, I noted down their web address, the relevant genres they were interested in, submission guidelines, and whether they were in fact currently accepting unsolicited submissions. That last column narrowed things down a bit, but of the ones that were left I explored their websites a little further, deciding which of my novels I would approach them with before adding that to the table. The final columns, yet to be filled, are for the date I submit, the date I intend to follow up, and what feedback, if any, I receive.

Its funny, but even just going over that process here has calmed and focused me again. If feels like a big thing, to be preparing to submit my work to people who might be able to help me get it out into the world. There is still lots to be done before I actually get to the point of submitting – honing and re-honing those crucial first chapters, reworking my synopses, crafting an elegant and engaging covering letter. The more I think about it, though, and the more I discover about independent publishers and why they are there, the more I believe it is the right route for me.

My writing is not mainstream. It is not easy to fit into a box. I can completely see why the ‘Big Five’ publishers might not think that my novels are worth the punt.

But I do.

And I’m sure, with time and effort and plenty of willpower, I will eventually find a publisher who is the perfect fit.


Writing Bubble

8 thoughts on “The perfect fit

  1. suz

    Good to hear I’m not the only one affected by post-Brexit panic. It has taken up so much space in my head … and I’m not normally a political person at all.
    Sounds like you’re really doing your homework on the publishers. Good luck.

  2. Over Heaven's Hill

    fantastic first step! its a scary and daunting world and one day i might try and dip my toes in too but for now I’ll enjoy reading about your journey through the publishing world. The very best of luck #whatimwriting

  3. Rebecca Ann Smith

    Good luck with it Sophie, sounds like a good plan. You’re absolutely right that novels that don’t fit easily into boxes can struggle to find mainstream publishers, and then go on to do well with indies. The other advantage of small presses is that you may well get a more personalised, collaborative approach to creating a book. I’ll look forward to hearing how it goes.

  4. mamaelsie

    Wow I hear you completely. But you seem to be doing the right thing and you seem so focused – so this was an inspirational post for me to read today. Good luck and keep your head up!

  5. maddy@writingbubble

    I’m glad you’ve made some time for writing stuff – my head has also been full of the political situation but it’s so good to focus on creative endeavours, I think. Art, writing and creativity in general, along with friendship are the tonics we need at the moment. And your plan is exciting! Indie publishers do sound like the right fit for you. Good luck! Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting

  6. Nicola Young

    I can feel your motivation through your words and it’s very inspiring. I too am making a plan. I think it’s time I got my backside in to gear and start moving forward with things. Good luck with it all.

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