Who is your Customer?
Market Research companies would tell you that it is essential to know your customer and what they want. This is a common theme of many ‘How-to’ Books on writing. Know your Market.
To me, there are THREE levels of customers.
1. Literary Agents
2. The Submission Editors and Readers at Publishers
3. The bookseller and readers who will buy your book.
You will only reach the readers who will love your work when you pass the first two gatekeepers.
In true mythological style these folks are employed to challenge you, and make sure you are worthy of entering the golden land, sorry, worthy of time and energy and money to publish YOUR work when there are thousands of other hopefuls all lined up outside the gate.
First. I am assuming that you doing this work yourself, so you need to use a few shortcuts to save days of time – and focus on key elements to maximise your success.
Marcus Sakey wrote an excellent article on how he carrys out his own market research on Literary agents, and you can find it here : http://killeryear.wordpress.com/2007/08/02/the-query-go-round/
WHO are your favourite authors, where have they been published, and WHO ARE THEIR LITERARY AGENTS?
If they have an agent.
Many Harlequin MB authors do not have Literary Agents because they write solely for that publisher who has a standard contract. This makes perfect sense and means more income for the author who is quite capable of managing her own career.
WHO publishes the kind of books you love to read as a whole group/subgenre.
These are the agents who SOLD that book to that publisher for that author.
This has the links to the websites etc and the info you need. The Yearbook is worth buying since you can search for specific genres – and there are craft sections.
LEVEL TWO: PUBLISHERS
DOES this publisher look at Un-Agented, Unsolicited Submissions?
These editors can move of course, but there will always be submission guidelines on their website.
The publisher of the books you love will define the length of the book, the subject matter such as the subgenre, and the format of the book.
It would be pointless to send a teenage romance book to a publisher who only produces paranormal erotic e-books.
Find out from:
* the front of the book in the acknowledgements section of a single title book
* the author’s website or blog
For a general list of Romance Publishers and Markets, go to the Internet on sites like: