Finding the Right Market for Your Novel
Months before you finish your novel, you should be thinking about the right market for it.
If you read a recently published book that has similar elements to the book you are creating, look at who published it and make note. Look at the publisher's line it is printed under. Is it their fantasy line or their romance line? How many pages long is it? When was it published?
Does the writer thank his agent or editor by name in the acknowledgment or dedication page? Has the writer published other books or is this the first?
Make a note of all this information as well as a brief plot summary and your impressions of the book and put it in a file for later when you begin to plan the marketing of your book.
Also mention where the book is physically. This will save you from ripping your keeper shelves apart when the book came from the library or was loaned to you by your best friend.
Now is a good time to get that subscription to "RT Bookreview," or "Locus," or some other review magazine in your genre.
If you read a review of a similar book, clip the review, date it, and toss it into the file, too.
You may be eclectic in your reading, but the NY publishers aren't eclectic in their buying. Every line, whether romance or otherwise, has neat little pigeon holes for each kind of book, and if you choose the wrong pigeon hole to put your book in, they'll toss it back to you.
Being published for the first time is hard enough when you have an incredible book that's perfectly crafted. Don't shoot yourself in the foot and waste your time and some editor's by sending a book written for one market to another.
Also, notice what the first-time writers have sold to publishers. Nora Roberts can do incredibly innovative things because she has the name and audience to do it so editors let her do it. The first-time writer shows you what you probably can get away with and sell. Of course, if that new writer's book failed badly, I wouldn't use it as your poster child to a successful career.
Now is also the time you should start searching out the market news. If you are a member of RWA or other organization, start studying the market news offered.
The Internet offers an incredible number of market resources, and some offer listserv newsletters. I subscribe to Cindi Myers romance market news. To join, send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Online lists of market news include
Cluelass.com more a listing of links to publishers, etc. for mystery
Mystery Readers International another list of links to publishers, etc.