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The Acquisitions Process: What Should Authors Know?

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The book acquisitions process for publishers isn’t a cut & dry process. There’s a lot that authors should know about the role agents play in submitting their work to find the best home for it. How aware are authors, or many, of the specifics of what it takes to make a book, let alone the stages an editor has to go through to pursue a title. Why do editors pursue some works and not others? How do authors communicate their interests to agents when submitting, and to editors who are interested in their work? What’s an auction versus a preempt?

This presentation aims to bring authors into the editorial acquisitions process to better understand the projects editors pursue and the ones they don’t, and how authors’ work is received at a traditional publisher. (Please note this presentation will NOT cover self-publishing in any capacity.)


Jennifer Baker is a publishing professional of almost 20 years, creator/host of the Minorities in Publishing podcast, and faculty member of the MFA program in creative nonfiction at Bay Path University. In 2019, she was named Publishers Weekly Superstar for her contributions to inclusion and representation in publishing. Jennifer is also the editor of the BIPOC-short story anthology Everyday People: The Color of Life (Atria Books, 2018) and the author of the forthcoming novel Forgive Me Not (Putnam BFYR, 2022). Her fiction, nonfiction, and criticism has appeared in various print and online publications. Her website is Photo credit: Gaby Deimeke.


With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Penguin Random House, and our donors, the Authors Guild Foundation is pleased to make Business Bootcamps for Writers free and open to the public.

Several writers organizations have partnered with the Authors Guild Foundation to help shape these programs. Our deepest appreciation to these organizations.