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publisher wants 2 chapters - what does that look like?

(10 Posts)
siiiiiiiiigh Wed 12-Nov-14 11:25:28

I've got a book that is related to my work, but, is for the general public.

It's evidence based, but, funny. At the end of the book you'll know what normal is, what to do if you've not got that, what to try, and where to seek help.

A publisher wants to see 2 draft chapters.

It's going to be a very, very rough draft - currently the book is a heap of scribbles and doodles. Due to family illness and general procrastination I have 12 days to get the bloody thing together...

So, what does a "draft" mean? Is it just to see what tone my writing is in? Do I need to worry about formatting and all that stuff?

I know nothing about publishing - can you tell?

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Wed 12-Nov-14 12:01:00

Do the best you can. You're selling yourself to them as a professional who will deliver, not just as someone who can write in a funny way.
In terms of formatting, yes insofar as you need to lay it out so it is clear, well-presented and easy to follow (page numbers, consistent formatting, no typos, no silly fonts, etc) but you don't have to try to make it look like the book will look like when it's published - if the layout is important they will have designers for that. In terms of the actual content, make it as polished as you can. Good luck!

PausingFlatly Wed 12-Nov-14 12:12:20

Agree, get the writing as good as possible and don't worry about the page layout, beyond page numbers of course.

If illustrations are important, it's fine to put a note on in a margin "[cartoon of dog with owner here]" or give a separate printout of your various illustrations, showcasing what you can do.

A good publisher will be looking for something they can work on with you and take forward. As Countess says, exact layout is what they do - but you're the only one who can provide the writing don't ask me about the times that doesn't happen.

PausingFlatly Wed 12-Nov-14 12:19:33

Oh, and if layout really is very important to how the book works, it's absolutely fine to turn up with a hand-drawn sketch of your concept.

Better that than wasting your precious time trying to wrangle your computer to produce it, unless that really is what you do all day.

(Caveat: If your product was borderline and you had lots of time to spend on style as well as content, then yes, making the biggest, wowiest presentation possible would be a clever idea. But if you don't have time, and you think the content is the selling point, then concentrate that time on getting that content right.)

tipsyloolah Wed 12-Nov-14 12:28:02

Do they want a full proposal or just sample chapters?

If the latter, then really just the text without bothering with layout, formats etc. Yes, they do want to see what your tone/voice is, whether you can write, whether it just needs edited or whether a ghost needs factored in.

I'm in proposal hell myself just now, but if you need any advice, just PM smile.

Dobble Wed 12-Nov-14 12:50:57

whether a ghost needs factored in

What does that mean tipsyloolah? Do they get someone else to rewrite your book for you? shock

tipsyloolah Wed 12-Nov-14 12:55:31

Depends on what your writing's like!

Some publishing houses have them in-house, so that doesn't cost any more as they need work IYSWIM, but some need to employ a ghost from outside which is obviously a financial factor when they're making an offer.

Dobble Thu 13-Nov-14 23:17:47

Ooh, can't do much for the confidence if they need to rewrite it. I'm learning new things everyday about this all.

siiiiiiiiigh Thu 13-Nov-14 23:38:36

Thanks, folks.

It's all a bit daunting, I'm aware that I'm fortunate to have this wobble, but, really, am out of my depth.

So far I've written a heap of stuff, which is rubbish.

No pressure...

tipsyloolah Fri 14-Nov-14 12:15:12

I don't think so Dobble - but I would say that!

Ghosts know just how to write to genre, they're fast, they 'get' what publishers want. It doesn't mean there isn't something worthwhile in what was originally presented, it just needs a tweak or two (or 80,000 words of tweaking wink.

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