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Decisions about what where and when to plant have been around since God laid out that sumptuous garden somewhere around Eden. Little wonder that finding something fresh in the gardening category is a publishing challenge. So what, we asked, makes a book proposal stand out nowadays?
"Ten years ago," reports Clarkson Potter's publisher, Lauren Shakely, "a would-be author's most important attribute was voice; five years ago, platform; now, we've added lifestyle and stamina. A gardening author who understands and values his lifestyle is more likely to value it in his readers. And authors need to get out and connect with the public. It takes a lot of personal effort to reach readers because this category is still smaller than cooking and a whole lot smaller than romance novels."
"Timber Press has built its reputation on …