Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 8, 2011

Acquisitions and After

The editor has decided they must have your book, but first it has to go through Acquisitions. The editor doesn’t just walk into the meeting and say, “Hey, I have a great book.” He or she has to arrive prepared and that involves doing a lot of homework.

This is an example of what things the editor will want to provide everyone in the meeting:

1. The editor will bring the manuscript with them and present a handout with the name of the author and a summary statement of the book to present to Sales, Marketing and Finance.

The handout will also address:

a. The type of book.
b. If there are plans for a series.
c. The amount planned for the series.
d. Does this book need an illustrator?
e. Paperback, hardcover or both.
f. Sale price
g. Targeted age level
h. Summary of the series
i. Bio of the author
j. The names of previously published books
k. The sales history of the previously published books, broken down into
paperback, hardcover sales, and amount of book club and book fair sales, etc.
This information usually come from Bookscan.
l.  This is repeated for each book.
m. Comparative titles and their sales history.
n. Upcoming publications by author.
o. Upcoming competitive books from other publishers.
p. Profit and Lost projection.
q. Other things the author is doing that relates to the book.
Example: Articles, Association talks. etc.

2. At this time, if the group likes what they see, then they will discuss the advance, royalties, format, and publication date.

3. If that all works out, then it is on to the Marketing and Publicity Plans

4. The handout usually has a plan to present, which include ideas the editor has on marketing the book.

These would most likely included:

a. Pub schedule for all books in the series
b. New author video. Does the author have the capability to do this on their
own or does the company need to create one for the book?
c. Name of Websites and blogs that could be used to help market the book.
d. Ideas on how to market the book to school libraries and public libraries.
e. Places to send to get reviews.
f. Include in what catalog?
g. Place where you can pitch author interviews.
h. Conventions to attend.
i. Potential booksigning places.
j. Book giveaways at places like – Book Expo, IRA, etc.
k. Book Fairs.
l. Posters and maybe even mock-ups of designs.
m. Same for various flyers and giveaways.

Of course, every publishing house is different, so this may vary. I would be happy to hear other things I have missed.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Kathy,

    You know, I knew it was involved, but actually seeing a detailed list like this gives one pause. We know there are reasons why it’s so difficult to get published, but this makes it even clearer. Thanks for this!



  2. this kind of insider info is SO helpful Kathy…most writers and artists don’t understand the process and how hard it is today to get a book through! 🙂


  3. excellent info. You inform my wiki!


  4. Yes, Kathy, very helpful to see all the aspects of a book that are considered. We should be thinking about this type of info when we query.

    Does it help that the acquiring editor show cleavage, as in the illustration? lol


    • LOL, Mary! I noticed it, too, but didn’t want to mention it! LOL It seems cleavage has to be EVERYwhere these days! (Personally, I’m sick of it.)


  5. What a great list to see how our manuscripts measure up, and what we can do to help it and ourselves check off more items for marketability and less reasons rejection.

    Thanks Kathy, I’m sharing this with my critique groups.
    Kim P


  6. Kathy, as always you’re a treasure of information. I’d like to add that in the “Buy or Don’t Buy” acquisitions meeting, not only will the company be looking at competing books from other companies, but also competing books from themselves. Did they just publish or do they have under contract a similar book? They don’t want to compete with themselves. So a company that has a profitable line of, say, werewolf books may look like a good place to send yours, when in fact they may not want it for that very reason. Yours probably has a unique twist, but will they see that as enough of a differeence? Also, if their existing series does well, will taking on another werewolf book annoy the writer and/or agent of the existing one? So there are always things involved beyond the numbers.

    Another in-house consideration is its own history with a certain kind of book. A company’s history is something newer editors may not know, especially for older and larger houses. If the editor is bring your collection of separate poems about bugs to the meeting, he or she might find out only then that collections of poems have never sold well for that company, no matter what the subject, or that bug books have never sold well. So they have to decide–is it time to try again? And is there anything about this book that makes it more saleable than the ones that were already published but tanked?
    Things that seem like no-brainers from our side as writers get so, so complicated, even when an editor is championing your manuscript.
    Like we don’t have enough problems as writers . . .


    • Wow, Susan, even more wonderful insight added to Kathy’s great blog! Thanks to both of you! 🙂


      • I just wish that “extra information” made things easier than harder! LOL . . . Although maybe that should be LOL COL. Make that C crying out loud, cursing out loud . . . Pick one.


  7. Thanks for the new acronym, Susan! lol

    Actually, I think it makes it easier in the way that it opens the eyes of authors, allowing them a greater understanding of the whole process which ultimately SHOULD reduce the anxiety of the process, in general. To me, it’s worse when we are “left in the dark,” questioning our work or whether or not we’re doing something “wrong” according to the people in the industry. We all know there are many variables that factor into whether someone gets published or not (talent, quality, timing, taste, the “right match,” luck, etc.), but this REALLY helps clarify it. I’m glad to know it! I HATE anything that resembles “limbo” or “fumbling about.”

    As Kathy’s map metaphor can also show: with directions we won’t be wasting our time floundering around, wandering aimlessly and dramatically decreasing the possibility of reaching our destination 🙂


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