How Not To Get Published - How To Win the WWOTYA - 1, The Audience

Gabrielle Guichard

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Never take your aimed audience into account. Even better: do not aim at any specific audience at all. Honestly, why should you prevent a garden lover from reading a fairy tale? Who can say for sure that sprites do no grow on trees? On the other hand, to propose a learned analysis of a Sophocles’ tragedy under a title crafted for children - what about: The Little Oedipus And His Mummy?- is bound to attract new readers.

To require you to target a specific audience is a means used by your publisher to deter a lot of readers from reading your book. Publishers do not want books to be bought and read. They are afraid of making money, I guess.

If the publisher does not know for sure who is going to be interested in the book, he is not going to advertise to everyone and their paper delivery boy. For some strange reason, instead of taking a chance of publishing a world wide success, and despite the insistent lobbying by the delivery boys, he prefers to tell the author: thank you, but no thank you.

So, to ensure you are not getting published, choose one of the following ways. In your query letter, do not specify which audience is aimed at; thus either your manuscript will not be read at all, or it will be committed at random and the specialist of law will have to judge a mystery.
Even if he enjoys reading it, he will not recommend it. If he misses the new Conan Doyle, nobody will know; but if he recommends any handful of paper sheets and makes the publishing house spend money on a book as worthy as a phone book, it will be known.
The reader wants neither to lose his job nor to wave farewell to his performance bonus.

If you cannot avoid specifying the audience, lie ! Your so-called Elegance of Mathematics, which hides a treatise about the Italian Renaissance, is bound to disconcert the reader who will dismiss it at first glance.
Your children book, if full of rare and long words and Latin quotations, will be rejected without any effort on your side.

Of course, you may experience an off-day and have your manuscript picked up by the right reader. That is the reason why there are other strategies to apply.

Gabrielle Guichard writes bilingual textbooks and is in charge of the English-French department at Multilingual Bookstore, the publishing house that translates and publishes short novels .


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