Publishing stories of fascinating Prairie People and Unsung Heroes

Welcome to the blog of Deana Driver - author, editor, and publisher of DriverWorks Ink, a book publishing company based in Saskatchewan. We publish stories of inspiring, fascinating Prairie people and unsung Canadian heroes - written by Prairie authors including Deana Driver. We also publish genres of healing and wellness, humour, children's fiction, and rural poetry. Visit our website to learn more about our books.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What do we look for in a manuscript?

We are often asked by would-be authors to look at their written work and give them advice on how to improve it to make it publishable. So here are the Top Three components we look for in a manuscript when considering its potential for it to be a great book that is self-published or published by DriverWorks Ink publishing:

1.     Unique story line:  What is it that makes the story you want to publish unique from all other stories out there? If you’re writing a memoir or autobiography, what is it about your experiences that are different from those of other people in a fascinating way that would make others want to read your book? The same question needs to be answered for any other type of book. Is it the location of the story, the story line, the uniqueness of the main character(s) or something else? While each person does have his or her own unique story to tell, it is true that some stories are far more interesting and publishable than others. If you aren't sure of the uniqueness of your story, we can help. Contact us for some advice on your work.

2.     Great writing:  You might think this is a component that we would not need to mention, but we do receive requests from people who have a potentially good story and no idea of how to write it as an engaging manuscript. Again, we can help. We can suggest ways to beef up your writing and improve your story. For example, if it's a biography or memoir, we often suggest using the chronological approach to telling the story. It's surprising how many would-be authors aren't aware of that method. We can also assist with the writing process along with our usual jobs of editing, layout and help with marketing.

3.     Marketability:     Just because it's a story that you love, that doesn't mean it's a story that will sell. That is one of the hardest parts of the book publishing business since there is no definitive way to be certain that a book is going to sell well. Publishers use a variety of tools including market research, experience, calculated guesses and gut instinct - in various combinations, depending on the book. Sometimes we know a book will do well. Sometimes we take a chance and we are rewarded with readers' responses to a title. As an author, do your own research for the greatest chance of success for your book. Search for a publisher who works with the same types of books as your story. For example, we specialize in non-fiction biographies but we also publish humour and children's fiction, so we have particular knowledge of those markets. We help authors self-publish all variety of work including non-fiction, fiction and poetry. Go to book stores and look at other books that are similar to the one you want to publish. Look at how the subject is presented. If there are already 10 books like the one you are wanting to publish, go back to Point 1 and reconsider.

The bottom line is - not every manuscript makes a good book, but if you consult with industry professionals near the beginning of the process and are open to accepting advice and making changes, you have a better chance of success as an author.

Good luck with your writing!

And contact us if you would like some advice and assistance.

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