Focus on the publisher’s need.
If you are trying to get articles, or even books, published by traditional publishers, you need to focus on the publisher’s needs. You can spend hours crafting and polishing a meaningful article, but if it doesn’t meet the needs and guidelines of a particular publisher, it will almost certainly be rejected. Writers who specifically target particular publishers and try to meet their needs have a much higher chance of acceptance. If editors realize that you can consistently produce the kind of articles they need, they may even assign you articles. Writing to meet the needs of a publisher is one of the first signs of professionalism when you are writing for publication.
Focus on the reader’s need.
A writer also needs to focus on the needs of the reader. Whether you are writing for a publisher or simply writing a personal blog, your articles are more likely to be read and accepted if you focus on the reader. One frustrated writer wrote me a while back. She had spent many hours writing and illustrating her blogs, but very few people read them. From what I can tell the blogs were mainly amusing stories about her grandchildren. No wonder she was frustrated. Today people are bombarded from every direction with things to read. Their email inboxes and Facebook home pages are stuffed full of amusing articles and clips. Readers will zone out quickly unless you write to meet their needs.
Of course, no article meets the needs of every reader. If you try to do this your article will probably become so broad it helps no one. But we need to aim to meet the specific needs of a certain kind of reader in our audience. How will your article help that reader? If it offers no help to anyone, it has no take-away value. Maybe you need to rewrite, of maybe that idea just isn’t going to work for you.
If you are a regular reader you know that I have a new book coming out in November. In fact I have two books. One is the true story of Mary Weaver, an innocent woman who was accused of first-degree murder simply for being the last person with a baby who had a seizure. The other is a Bible study book that talks about issues that her story raises. Questions like: If God is in control, why is my life a disaster? Both books are joint efforts. I’ve already published four fiction books and a Bible study book with traditional publishers, but this is my first time to self-publish books. That means I (we) have to do my own promotion. One challenge I face is focusing on the needs of the buyer.
“Buy my book!!! Buy my book!!! Buy my book!!!” Writers get tired of saying this and readers get tired of reading it. Yet today promoting your book is part of writing books. Is there another way?
Our website is due to go live by September 1. We’ve tried to make the website helpful for the reader. We offer a free sample chapter of both books. We feature photos of the events in Edges of Truth: The Mary Weaver Story. Members of her support group can go online and share memories of the events in which they took part in the 1990’s. Readers can sign up to be notified by email when the book comes out and register their interest in coming to the book launch.
One of the freebies on the website will be shareable quotes like the one above. These quotes from both books are easy to share on Facebook or Pintrest. We trust these quotes will challenge the reader as well as promote the book.
We’re planning a book launch November 22, 2013 in Marshalltown, Iowa. Here again we want to use this occasion to thank Mary Weaver supporters and recognize people who played a part in bringing the Mary Weaver case to a good ending. We want to express thankfulness to God for the amazing things he did in the lives of Mary Weaver and her lawyer, Steve Brennecke.
Steve Brennecke and I wrote of Edges Truth to entertain, challenge, and encourage readers. My husband and I wrote I Survived! to encourage readers who are dealing with disasters in their own lives that challenge them spiritually. We wrote for the interests and needs of readers, because if the books don’t help our readers, they aren’t worth publishing. We need to keep that challenge in mind with each new step we take in the process of publication and promotion.
I trust these challenges will help you keep a clear focus as you write too.
You might find these articles helpful too:
[image of pen copyrighted by Deposit Photos/Марина Львова o1]