Last December Outskirts Press ran a promotion looking for the “Best Manuscript of December” where the winning author will receive not only a full credit of their publishing package cost, but an additional 10% as well.
According to our manuscript evaluation department and author services team (the front-end folks), it was very successful and resulted in a LOT of manuscript submissions. I always say a discount or a promotion is never the ONLY reason to use a company, but it can sometimes help those “on the fence” take action. The idea, of course, is to combine the benefits of your business or company, overall, with the urgency of the promotion.
Our manuscript evaluation team then narrowed down ALL the manuscripts we received in December from authors who began their publishing package during the promotion dates and from that list provided me with 12 very high-quality manuscripts to review. Yes, from ALL the manuscripts that were submitted, 12 made it to the second round, and let me tell you, these were 12 excellent manuscripts!
The idea of this process was not only to identify and reward a very talented author, but to also imitate the selection process of traditional publishers, as harsh as it is. These 12 manuscripts from among all the submissions represents a much larger “statistical likelihood” than an unsolicited manuscript finding success with being sent to a traditional publisher or agent.
The next step was very closely reviewing these 12 manuscripts to narrow them down even further. The 12 “second round” manuscripts literally came from all four corners of America — ranging from California to Connecticut, New York to Texas — and the globe.
It was challenging narrowing down the 12 to a more manageable 6. They were all very, very good. Now we have arrived at 6 “finalists.”
3 fiction and 3 non-fiction.
Since they were all submitted in December, some of them are already published, but until all 6 finalists are published, we cannot move forward with the judging. Here’s why… While there’s no doubt the strength of the writing is very important, other factors contribute to an overall successful book — not the least of which is being a professional author who has a “platform” on which to jump-start marketing efforts after publication. But we also want to view the published book “as a whole” including its cover, the back copy text, the author’s webpage, marketing tactics being put forth, etc.
This also imitates the process of a conventional publishing process, where the publisher or agent is almost always as equally interested in the author as the manuscript. “How easy is this author going to be to work with? How professional is she? How much marketing muscle can he bring to the table?” Etc.
Once all 6 books are published, I’ll touch upon this again.