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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Don’t Forget the Barcode

Scenario goes like this: enter shopper with a list in hand and a worried expression. The supermarket shelves are lined with all kinds of products. It’s impossible to tell one from the other. It’s impossible to tell which one is on the list.

Conversation on mobile phone goes like this: ‘Umm, darling, there are too many here. Which one did you want? Wait, I’ll take a photo.’

Scenario goes like this: shopper takes a photo and sends it to their darling. Shopper calls back. Shopper has a close look at the products, picking some up and putting them back while holding the phone to their ear. Shopper smiles. Shopper selects product.

Just like the problem faced by our shopper, publishers are often overwhelmed with the supply and variety of manuscripts. So what makes one manuscript stand out from the others? According to Michael Bollen from Wakefield Press it will be well written and presented, meet the needs of the publisher’s list, but above all it will engender a visceral response. It will make the publisher think:
‘I love this’
‘I know how to talk about it’
‘It pins me to the page.’

If you can’t pin your manuscript to the publisher’s list, don’t despair. You could always consider self publishing. In the digital age, Michael’s advice here is practical, ‘Don’t forget the barcode’ !

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