Submission Process Step One: Know the Market

There is no correct way to compose a novel. Of course there are grammar rules and sentence structure that we must adhere to as novelists, but there is not a sure-fire way to write one. It’s like telling someone that chocolate ice cream is the correct flavor of ice cream.

That is one of the things I love about writing. It’s a process of discovery and imagination, which, when combined, create a very interesting, albeit sometimes frustrating, quest.

This blog is not about “how to submit a novel”, but rather steps that I (and other marketers and novelists I know) deem important in the submission process. However, please take this for what it is, a suggestion, and if you have had success in the submission process, please share your ideas.

Submission Process Step One: Know the Market & Seek Your Competition

I am writing fantasy. I hate that term but it is what it is. When you think of fantasy immediatly the books of JRR Tolkien, J K Rowling, and perhaps even C. S. Lewis come to mind. If I am writing fantasy, you might wonder, why not compare yourself to one of the greats?

Simple. Everyone who is writing fantasy says they are like them, and in actuality, no one can be them. And all of this besides as a new unpublished author how could I presumptuously believe that my unknown work belongs on the same bookshelf or even at the same address as those Tomes?

Thus, I have started a search for books that are like mine and are not as well known. One of them I discovered, is Secrets of the Fire Sea by Stephen Hunt.

Why did I choose this novel? Glad you asked.

The book begins with an isolated island and a time of innocence. This is like my beginning. Also, there is a scandal and power struggle within the society as well as an unknown outside force of immense power which descends upon my character’s beloved city. There are tremendous amounts of similarities, I could go on for quite some time but, the main reason I want to know my competition is because I wish to exploit them. (Devious laugh)

Alright, if you know me I am not the devious and exploiting sort, however, I am want to get to know this book for several reasons.

I want to know who published it. I want to know the agent behind it. I want to know the synopsis, and I want to know the target audience. This information is important when trying to find that oh-so-precious-niche where my novel might belong.

Since I have discovered one of the books I can complete with (or deliriously believe that I can) I will begin researching its publication process. All of this information is located on the book for the most part, and once that is finished, I merely need to put together a proposal and send off my dreams to be assuredly rejected.

However, this is just the beginning. At some point I might very well elbow my way through the clouds. 

Here’s to my, and your, dreams novel writer.