f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Built-In Audience

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Friday, April 15, 2005

Built-In Audience

Yesterday I wrote the term “built-in audience,” as one of the things I’m looking for in a book. This term has caused some consternation. Let me clarify or redefine.

As a publisher we need not only to like your book but to think we can SELL your book. Yes, this is a business and we like to try and make at least a little money.

The easier it is to figure out who your audience is and where readers are going to come from to buy your book, the better.

Thus, a published author who sells between 30,000 – 25,000 copies of her first five novels is easy to think through. Most likely her newest book, if it is similar in quality and content to her first five, will sell approximately the same.

First time novelists bring no such numbers (unless you are famous) and thus we have to look at a few other factors.

  • Is your story in a particular genre for which there is a healthy and interested readership?
  • Will your story be timely for some reason?
  • Is your own life-story interesting enough that we can sell you as well as the book?
  • Do you have credentials or contacts in places that will gain attention for the book?

If you say “No” to all those questions that still doesn’t mean we won’t publish your book. At that point, though, it has to be the strength of the manuscript—the story and the writing—that carries the day. Lots of literary fiction is published this way. Much of it slips off the radar with a whisper. A few, for whatever reason, find the acclaim and publicity they need to catch readers.

Hopefully that clarifies things a bit.