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The Not-so-intimidating Acquisition Process

By Danielle Lieneman

The time has come. You’ve spent hours upon hours typing away and you finally have a complete manuscript … now what? How do you get it in the hands of readers?

Getting published might seem like a monumental feat, but fear not –– our editorial team will take it from here. Once you’ve spoken with one of our publishing consultants and discussed your book, you will submit a manuscript (preferably in Microsoft Word!) for editorial review. Sounds intimidating, right? Well, it’s not as scary as it sounds — I promise. We review your manuscript to see if it’s a good fit for Atlantic Publishing and what work needs to be done to make it ready for publication.

Now that we’ve established what an editorial review is, I’ll give you a peak at how our editorial team conducts these reviews and why it’s so important to the publishing process.

Earlier I mentioned that one of our publishing consultants will ask you to submit your manuscript to our editorial team as a word document. But why not a PDF or Pages file instead? Why does the format matter? Well, you can send your manuscript like that if that’s all you have access to, but it will only be detrimental to the acquisition process and, by extension, you and your manuscript. By submitting a word document, the editors are able to give you the most thorough review possible. We have the ability to make notes directly on the manuscript, providing you with feedback on specific components of your draft. In addition, with an accurate word count, we can better provide a good-faith estimation of the editorial process and printing costs.

When reviewing an acquisition, what we look for in each manuscript varies based on the subject of your manuscript. For a nonfiction book about healthy cat food recipes, we want to make sure that the author has a grasp on what is healthy for cats and why the reader should believe that this is the best resource for what they’re looking for. Is the information presented in a logical way? Does the author have a unique viewpoint that makes this book different than similar books on the market? For fiction, we look at the plot and the character development. Is the story original and unique, or is it full of clichés and plot devices? Do we care about the characters and what happens to them? Usually if we, as editors who read over eight hours a day, are intrigued and want to keep reading, we know readers will be interested as well.

For both fiction and nonfiction, we look at the style and syntax. Will the manuscript need to be rearranged and the material fleshed out, or does everything just need to be edited to sound more professional and consistent? Will the author need to be guided through, sentence by sentence to help the structure and grammar be comprehensible, or is the book essentially ready for publication with only a quick shine-up needed? The answers to these questions to your estimated editorial cost, and ultimately, to our acquisition decision.

The last thing we consider for any of our books is marketability — can it be sold? The market for books, especially fiction and even some subsections of nonfiction, is oversaturated. Think of how many vampire romances there were a few years ago! We look at what makes each title unique and how we will be able to position it within the market to reach all the readers out there who need to see your work. The market for your book’s topic must be big enough to have a wealth of potential readers but not so big that your book would get lost in a mountain of options.

Sometimes an author doesn’t want to distribute their book to the mass market, making marketability less of a consideration. We offer unique packages for these types of projects, as well. In the end, it’s the author’s choice, but we try to be as transparent about what the author can expect before, during, and after publication during the entire process.

Once the acquisition stage is complete, we send our review back to the publishing consultants who will discuss the manuscript and the feedback from the editorial review with the author. Hopefully, a contract follows soon after!

If you’re interested in submitting your manuscript for review, our publishing consultants would love to speak with you! Head over to our website, and someone will be in contact shortly.

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