Part of the problem of getting published, once you have got over the correct market hurdle and the quality barrier and passed through the “will it offend anybody?” police, there is one major stumbling block to getting published: will it sell? The publishing world is rife with even the best known books of our time having been rejected with a “yeah, it is good but we don’t think anybody will want to buy this”. There is no need to be downhearted when your precious manuscript collapses here because agents and publishers are only human… they make mistakes.
Though the market seems to be in ever multiplying phase of subgenres (you might think for example that steampunk is where it ends as a subcategory of science fiction but no… it subdivides into dieselpunk, clockpunk, gaslight romance, historical steampunk, fantasy steampunk and futuristic steampunk), the only way you are ever going to know if your book will sell is to ask the people upon whose shelves your book might take pride of place.
Asking readers?! Gosh, why did nobody think of this before?! Well they did when stories were sold by subscription. This is just a modern way of doing it.
I like the premise of “Unbound”. Click on the link above and watch a short video explaining how it all works. You publish your idea and other users on the site decide whether they like the concept and then whether they like the concept enough to pledge money. If your project doesn’t achieve enough money in the time frame they can either get a refund or move their money onto another project. No risks!
And the best bit is that for pledging that money (and depending on how much they pledge), the donor is rewarded anything from their name in the acknowledgements up to lunch with the author. Each donor is rewarded with a copy of the book too.