publishingPublishing Fear Free

What If…?

While I’m busy working away on my next independently published novel, I started thinking about how happy I have been with the way my writing journey has gone. Then, I started thinking that I can actually be a bit helpful to writers who still would like to attempt to be traditionally published, especially to those who want to write an Austen sequel.

Here’s what I discovered may help get your foot in the door:

  • Write a good novel. Make it clean and submit it to the publisher following their directions precisely.
  • Write in the Pride and Prejudice universe. According to the publisher, P&P sequels sell better than those based on any other Austen novel.
  • Write a Darcy/Elizabeth-focused novel. Based on what the publisher told me, this is one of the main criteria they look for. According to their findings, D/E stories sell the best.
  • Write a what-if variation. Those seem to be in vogue right now.
  • Be creative with setting and time period. A western P&P came out this year.
  • Give it a supernatural twist. Also in vogue.
  • Stay true to the characters. While you are changing the details of the plot a bit, don’t change too much about the characters. People really want to see the characters they already know and love.
  • Throw in some sex. One of the best-selling sequels of all time was extremely focused on the subject. Sex sells, right?
  • Use Darcy or Pemberley in the title. This is said to attract the most attention.

So if you are interested in pursuing this route, maybe those tips will maximize your chances at getting a contract. Let me know how it works! 🙂

9 thoughts on “What If…?

  1. Assuming I expand Attempting Elizabeth, which I want to do . . . I have several of those checked off my list.

    Good novel – um, we can only hope – I’ll count it as a half check.
    P&P universe – check. Does this make me a follower?
    Darcy / Elizabeth focuses – um, half check again.
    What if variation – well . . erm . . . kinda . . . ok, half check!
    Supernatural twist – I’m gonna just give myself a check here.
    True to characters – Yeah, I think so . . . check.
    Sex – No. Choke. Gag. Shuder. Horrified expression.
    Darcy or Pemberley in title – no again. Darn.

    So, counting up my checks and half checks I have four . . . I’ll give myself a 50-50 chance 😉 Luckily, I have decided to self-pub!

    Oh, and I’ve read the “sex” book, and CC is about 500 times better, so there you go.

  2. You have more checks on your list than I did! I had decent novel, P&P, and true to characters. Traditional wisdom says that no one would be interested in Charlotte. I have started to think that other types of sequels just haven’t been given the chance to find an audience. Working theory.

  3. I disagree with “traditional wisdom.” Everyone I know wanted Charlotte to have a happy ending.

    Oh, and let’s add to the list, do not make your P&P revamp a children’s picture book. Immediate rejection awaits you if you do!

  4. Jennifer, You hit the nail on the head every time. Although I had published two P&P novesl with Sourcebooks, they weren’t interested in my Anne Elliot, esp. since it is a parody. However, one P&P enthusiast told me at a book signing that she is sick of “Mr. Darcy” being in every title, but Sourcebooks does a lot of research on these things. Darcy sells. Ask anyone who has a blog and has had a favorite Darcy and a favorite Elizabeth poll. You will get twice as many votes for the Darcy poll.

  5. But if you had followed your own advice, you wouldn’t have written Charlotte Collins, and you are very proud of your work and have entertained thousands! I wouldn’t have written Anne Elliot, and that book happens to be my favorite. I have entertained hundreds! I know there are a lot more books in your future, and the playing field is changing all the time. BTW, I am about to publish my first novella b/c of you.

  6. Really, Mary? A novella! That’s great news! Would you like to blog about it when you release it?

    And you are right. I don’t regret not following my own advice. I wouldn’t change my path for anything. I’ve had a lot of fun and made such great friends. I’m excited about seeing what comes next on the path.

  7. Jennifer,
    I am so glad you did not follow your own advice in order to be publisher’ed! I have quite enjoyed Charlotte’s story, and cannot wait for Caroline’s! Personally… I am getting tired of D/E stories and I think that the publishers should allow the writers and readers to move along! (And they can keep the sex out of my JA stories…thank you very much!)
    Love your posts and have fun writing!

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