New Title Meetings can be hell! (Trust me, I know …)

Eoin Purcell

Eoin's significantly reduced slush pile
Eoin's significantly reduced slush pile

A heavy days meetings
A very long new title meeting on the Friday of the bank holiday meeting is not what I had in mind, but there was much to cover! Some of it good, some bad, some promising! I’m always stressed to hell before these meetings and pretty tired after them, but this time some thoughts bubbled to the surface, that I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, but a little reiteration can’t hurt!

A word (or two) of advice if I may to authors

    1) Always, always, always include you place of birth, your place of current residence and your profession in your submission letter (or your cv). You would be amazed how many times I get asked those three questions at New Title Meetings.

    2) Please think of at least a tag line or snappy descriptions for your book (fiction or non-fiction) when submitting. Yes these are cheesy and might well be over selling the book, but do it, it’ll help your commissioning editor when they pitch the title.

    3) Always include an image in the submission. Commissioning editors don’t care but sales people do!

    4) Know what genre you fit in! Don’t tell me its indefinable, that just means I’ll have a harder time selling it. If you don’t like pigeon holing, draw some obscure comparison, Milton crossed with Thompson, whatever, just don’t claim after centuries of people writing that you are unique, it’s unlikely to be true*!

    5) If your editor accepts digital submissions, send them digitally! I don’t know how often a slice of the text pasted into my proposal has served to showcase the talent of an author (both in fiction and non-fiction) or highlight a key selling point, this is so much easier to do when the text is in a word/rtf or text file!

That’s it! Keep submitting!

* You may have lots to offer and be a new, fresh voice, but your work will trod old ground and plough old furrows. That is not to say people will not love it and thank you a million times for writing! Just know your parameters!

6 thoughts on “New Title Meetings can be hell! (Trust me, I know …)

  1. Well, I can’t help but ask: by ‘image’ do you mean a photograph of ourselves? That would only be after you’ve requested a full manuscript, surely?

    I *am* amazed at the three questions you get asked at Title Meetings. It’s an interesting glimpse into the editorial side of the business. But why on earth is an author’s place of birth interesting, do you know?

    Thanks for posting about it, and I hope your weekend’s a relaxing one!

  2. Hey Susan,

    Place of birth means an opportunity to open a conversation with a retailer in nearby stores! LOL!

    By ‘Image’ I do mean picture and I much prefer to have it from the get go! It just adds something to the brief presentation if I show the team a picture! There’s no rational logic I can apply just a raw emotional feel I think!

    I’m hoping it will be relaxing! I hope yours is too!

  3. Wow. So if you’re foreign and ugly, old or fat, would it count against you? (Tell me no! LOL) I’ve been reading and learning a lot about platforms, but never thought a birthplace and face came into it (unless either one was related to the book).

    Thank you for all the things I learn here, even the surprises!

  4. None of those things count against you necessarily!

    A foreign based author present issues for marketing and pr, because radio and TV interviews become a problem, but they are rarely the clincher in decision making.

    Glad you get surprises!

  5. Hi Eoin,

    Sound advice – and it’s good to get an insider’s view of the process from time to time – but I was still thrown by the need for a piccie! Surely that would become more relevant once the work was commssioned and the sales people were gearing up to do whatbthey do so well.


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