Standout Market Spotlight: Baen Books

In this special online-only expanded version of the Baen Books market profile featured in the February 2012 issue of WD, publisher Toni Weisskopf shares more tips for breaking into Baen.
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In this special online-only expanded version of the Baen Books market profile featured in the February 2012 issue of WD, publisher Toni Weisskopf shares more tips for breaking into Baen.

The inside story from: Toni Weisskopf, publisher

MISSION: [To publish] great science-fiction and fantasy stories that excite readers now and in the future, in formats that they can easily access.

FOUNDED: 1983.
PUBLISHES: 70 books per year.
FOCUS: Readers who enjoy action, strong plots and believable science (or a believable and consistent magic system, for fantasy).
KEY TO SUCCESSFUL SUBMISSIONS: Strong plotting and characterization.
WE MIGHT BE A GOOD FIT FOR YOU IF: You like hard science fiction (we have real, live scientists and engineers such as Rocket City Redneck’s Travis Taylor writing for us); unusual fantasy (P.C. Hodgell’s latest Kencyrath novel debuted in December); historical fiction (Eric Flint’s 1632 series is one of the most successful alternate history series); military science fiction (we wrote the book on the subgenre); urban fantasy with heart (such as books by Larry Correia and Mercedes Lackey); [or] classic science fiction. RANGE OF PRINT RUNS: Varies.
RANGE OF ADVANCES: Varies.
HOW TO SUBMIT: Electronic submissions strongly preferred [at http://ftp.baen.com/slush/submit.aspx].
DETAILED GUIDELINES:baen.com/submit.asp.

What awards or praise have your titles received?
Numerous New York Times bestsellers, Hugo awards, Nebula awards, Prometheus award winner (and nominees), Wall Street Journal bestsellers, Space Frontier Foundation award winner, [and] numerous thank-yous from men and women in uniform.

What makes a submission stand out?
Page-turners [that have] something to say. We’re not just looking for that first hook; we want the story to be compelling throughout.

What do you wish writers would know about your selection process?
Because we review unsolicited, unagented manuscripts, our selection process can take a long time.

What common mistakes do you see in submissions?
A failure to check our submission guidelines, [and] manuscripts submitted not in the genres we publish.

Besides a polished proposal, what should authors bring to the table?
A completed manuscript, and a cover letter outlining pertinent life experience.

What are Baen’s plans for the future?
[To] continue publishing the best science fiction and fantasy in the field, identifying new talented authors [and] expanding e-book operations.

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For the inside story on how to break into more standout markets for your work, don’t miss the February 2012 issue of WD.