Before writers approach a publisher, Alice Crider suggests you consider these 21 most important questions that editors ask. An editor, an author, and an author coach, she has combined her life coaching skills with her writing and 15 years of publishing experience since 2011. Alice shared this material at LittWorld 2012, pulling much of it from “Steps to Bring About Life Change” by David Kopp.
1. What is the big idea, and is it in motion? What’s the dynamic philosophy? (“Dynamic” means energy going in a direction—a domino falling into a line of dominos vs. just one perfect domino; a plot or cumulative argument vs. a premise restated in different ways)
2. Is it over the top? Have we added all the value possible?
3. Is the book necessary, better yet indispensable? Will the book be dominant or is it just another entry in a product category?
4. Is it new? Is it newsworthy? Will it get talked about?
5. Is the content significant?
6. Do we have an outstanding title?
7. Do we have the structure right?
8. Are we firmly in control of the reading experience?
9. Does the writing add value, get in the way, or disappear?
10. Why so many words?
11. Is this author writing from a platform the reader will accept?
12. How are we helping the author promote the book?
13. Where is the author going in his or her ministry life, and what are the next potential books in that direction?
14. Do we clearly understand how important the material is to the reader relative to his or her hierarchy of needs?
15. How will the reader use the book, and are we helping?
16. Can I make the advice work? Does the concept both promise and deliver?
17. Have we struck a business deal with the reader by the end of chapter 1?
18. Does the book sell itself on every page? (cover, spine, table, author info, callouts, typography)
19. Do book and author have an in-house champion?
20. Do we know where the book is going in the store? (It falls into an available product category in the retail store, so it won’t get lost or poorly promoted.)
21. Is the publisher positioned to succeed?