Now this sounds like fun. Have you ever wondered what an editor has to go through to find and decide on which book to put in the next release line-up?
There are a lot of good manuscripts to choose from, but you also have to consider what sells. So I might love a story about a pink fairy and her struggle to overcome the stigma of being pink, but how many people are going to buy it? Maybe me (but I've already read it) and the author's best friends and relatives.
My friend Jeff Gerke runs Marcher Lord Press, and here is his fun idea where readers can participate in the selection of the manuscripts to be published.
Official news release:
Marcher Lord Press, the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction, announces the debut of a revolution in fiction acquisitions.
"Marcher Lord Select is American Idol meets book acquisitions," says publisher Jeff Gerke. "We're presenting upwards of 40 completed manuscripts and letting 'the people' decide which one should be published."
The contest will proceed in phases, Gerke explains, in each subsequent round of which the voters will receive larger glimpses of the competing manuscripts.
The first phase will consist of no more than the book's title, genre, length, a 20-word premise, and a 100-word back cover copy teaser blurb. Voters will cut the entries from 40 to 20 based on these items alone.
"We want to show authors that getting published involves more than simply writing a great novel," Gerke says. "There are marketing skills to be developed--and you've got to hook the reader with a good premise."
Following rounds will provide voters with a 1-page synopsis, the first 500 words of the book, the first 30 pages of the book, and, in the final round, the first 60 pages of the book. The manuscript receiving the most votes in the final round will be published by Marcher Lord Press in its Spring 2010 release list.
No portion of any contestant's mss. will be posted online, as MLP works to preserve the non-publication status of all contestants and entries.
Participating entrants have been contacted personally by Marcher Lord Press and are included in Marcher Lord Select by invitation only.
"We're also running a secondary contest," Gerke says. "The 'premise contest' is for those authors who have completed a Christian speculative fiction manuscript that fits within MLP guidelines and who have submitted their proposals to me through the Marcher Lord Press acquisitions portal before October 29, 2009."
The premise contest will allow voters to select the books that sound the best based on a 20-word premise, a 100-word back cover copy teaser blurb, and (possibly) the first 500 words of the book. The premise contest entrants receiving the top three vote totals will receive priority acquisitions reading by MLP publisher Jeff Gerke.
"It's a way for virtually everyone to play, even those folks who didn't receive an invitation to compete in the primary Marcher Lord Select contest."
Marcher Lord Select officially begins on November 1, 2009, and runs until completion in January or February 2010. All voting and discussions and Marcher Lord Select activities will take place at The Anomaly forums in the Marcher Lord Select subforum. Free registration is required.
"In order for this to work as we're envisioning," Gerke says, "we need lots and lots of voters. So even if you're not a fan of Christian science fiction or fantasy, I'm sure you love letting your voice be heard about what constitutes good Christian fiction. So come on out and join the fun!"
Marcher Lord Press is a Colorado Springs-based independent publisher producing Christian speculative fiction exclusively. MLP was launched in fall of 2008 and is privately owned. Contact: Jeff Gerke; www.marcherlordpress.com.