Friday, July 17, 2009

RNA Conference 3, Kathy Gale

Kathy Gale“What Publishers Want”

She has 25 years in publishing and switched from editing to being a writing coach and well as publishing consultant for Quick Reads - which was set up for people who struggle with reading or who lost the reading habit. She became a writing coach because of the gap between writers and publishers.

The Practical Info
- They want best selling writer who write a book a year and make them loads of money
- Supermarkets have transformed the market and if you don’t make it in to them you’ll never make
- The mid list is almost totally gone
- Publishers don’t have the facility to build writers
- Books has to be really fantastic
- They want writers to be writing in the same vein-even better with continuing characters

You need to know where a book will fit in the market place – it’s a means of communication to so many possible (the chain of people who have to communicate your market) so be clear be clear of your market

Have a phrase or a way of describing yourself – ie contemporary women’s fiction, heart rending love story, rom com....something people can relate to

Seeing yourself as a contemporary writer – what is being written now – the style now – what makes it fresh and contemporary

Who is your target market –
ABC1- middle class
C2D- working class
Women
Men
Age
-who is the core readership
-it is a helpful idea to have a picture of your core reader – name her – think about your market in that way
-think about what your reader wants

Trends in Publishing
-misery memoirs are heading down
-historical sagas on the way down, Regional saga has peaked
-look at the Times best seller list
-Develop a relationship with a librarian and a bookseller – who are the breakout sellers and what was the breakout book
-read the Bookseller
-read new authors who have sold really well – what is it about them that that is completely new, fresh
-look at things with an open mind – what is selling
-don’t write cynically – those books are thin; they don’t have heart

It’s about finding a balance - a balance of writing a book that lights your fire with an eye to the market. Often it is in the detail -
-emotional depth
-vary pace; give enough detail
-evoking atmosphere
-don’t let pace over ride everything; give the reader enough time
-the setting
-richness

It is a huge job to write a book – it can take years

She then said having listed the above 'rules' -YOU ARE NOT TO FOLLOW ANY RULES AT ALL- DON’T TWIST YOURSELF OUT OF SHAPE
Go with the feel – go with your heart- go with your own writing pattern
Resonant writing
Publishers want their authors to be professional
-The appearance of the author does matter; interesting; engaging; they are promotable; be stylish, bright, contemporary not stuffy
-They want authors who are self respecting and assertive but are not difficult to work with
-Respect them as professionals
-Don’t be difficult
-Watch out what you say about yourself and your book in the covering letter-be professional but not grandiose
-No gimmicks
In answer to a question she said -
There is room for innovation – yes. Take Bridget Jones for example.It transformed the landscape of contemporary women’s fiction, in fact it made it contemporary

Kathy's website













This session had so many light bulb moments for me - it filled in the gaps to some of the feedback I have had on A Cornish House. So now back to polishing ACH for the New Writers' Scheme deadline 31 August.
The next session post will be next week. I apologize for posting the sessions out of order but I am doing the ones that I have already written up first!

8 comments:

ChrisH said...

Thanks, Liz - lots to take on board there.

M. L. Kiner said...

"The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.
www.StrategicBookPublishing.com/TheHongKongConnection.html

Anonymous said...

"The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.
www.StrategicBookPublishing.com/TheHongKongConnection.html

Ladybird World Mother said...

Loved reading this... lots to think about. Thank you!

Susie Vereker said...

Liz, you are a wonder. Thanks so much for posting all these reports.

Liz Harris said...

Thank you so much for posting such full and interesting accounts of the conference talks. You have really made the conference come alive for me and, I'm sure, for all of those who, like me, could not be there.

Liz X

Flowerpot said...

Thanks for that Liz - very interesting. And another example of here are the rules but don't necessarily follow them - like the English language!

Glynis said...

A useful post and interesting too, thanks.