As Acquisitions Editor for Tangled Tree Publishing, I have been evaluating some very interesting submissions so far, ranging across a wide variety of settings, topics, and plot designs. We have seen almost every genre we’re looking for, which is awesome so soon after opening our doors! Submissions are coming in from authors established in these genres, those who are looking to try something new and branch out of their comfort zone, and those who are new to the writing scene period—all are welcome! Our first book to be published, A Divided Mind, is a fantastic example of the psychological thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat from cover to cover, and we are looking to grow onward and upward from there.
One of the top things we’re looking for in a submission is not only a clear and concise synopsis of the book, which lets the acquisitions team know exactly what is going to happen plot-wise from beginning to end, but also a gripping first few chapters. From a reader’s perspective, we want to be captivated by those first two or three chapters, to the point where we are anxious to get the rest of the manuscript. Now that’s not to say that every chapter needs to end on a cliffhanger, or that there needs to be something crazy and out of the norm happening in the beginning when it would be better suited for the middle or end of the novel. However, there does need to be an air of something mysterious, an allusion to something thrilling, the vague idea of something suspenseful, even if it’s as small as a whisper on the wind or a flash in the night—that little “niggle,” as I like to call it, that sticks in the reader’s mind and keeps them turning the page, trying to find out just what exactly is happening.
Think of your favorite books in the genre you have chosen. What is it about them that stands out to you, that makes you read them again and again or always 1-click that author’s next novel? For me personally, Stephen King is one of those authors. He is a master at storytelling and world-building, and he excels at outright grabbing you by the collar and yanking you into the first few pages, and also more subtly inserting that “niggle” that grows and festers and makes you keep reading long after you should have set the book down and called it a night. In my mind, that’s the mark of a great story, no matter the genre, that the reader is invested and eager to take this ride the author has created.
In the end, remember that it’s the start of a new year, which means it’s the perfect time to start something new. If you have a manuscript that you believe fits our guidelines, be brave and submit it to us! We are also available via email or through our Facebook page if you have any questions or would like some advice regarding what we are looking for in a submission. And don’t forget to check back here regularly for publishing announcements and other news from Tangled Tree Publishing!