I like to look around sites and see which markets are taking submissions and what they are looking for. It’s always good to know what’s new, old , and in-between. See how the old stand-by’s are doing, as well as the young, hungry wolves of the pack.
While I was doing some perusing this week, I came across one site where an editor compared finding the right publisher with marrying the right person. Sure, you want a mate. Life can be easier with one, and hopefully, fun. Unless you pick the wrong person, in which case you’ll wonder why you didn’t stay by yourself in the first place…
I thought this was probably the best description I’ve heard anyone put to it. Writers are so eager to get their work out to the public that often times, we overlook certain things. Sometimes, a newbie doesn’t know what questions to ask.
And let’s face it, publishing is a tricky industry. What works fine with one publishing house is not always acceptable at another.
Here are some things to keep in mind while you wade through the publication process:
1) When looking for a publisher–what books do they have out currently?
Of course, you want to look for a publisher that prints similar genre or style. But quite literally, where are they selling their books? On Amazon, Smashwords, or other similar sites? Do they offer e-books? Do they only sell from their own website? If so, does that fit what you had in mind?
2) Are you comfortable communicating with the publisher?
Do they seem willing to discuss your book? Do they call when they say they will and meet deadlines once you’ve signed on? If not, this may be a warning sign.
3) Ask about how things will work as far as editing.
Will there be several people working with you on your book, or just one? Is there a particular format they use for editing? Are they formal or informal, and how does that fit with the way you like to work?
4) Know what you can and will be willing to do as far as promotion–and then ask your publisher what their role will be.
Most smaller publishers can not to afford to do much. But if they promise particular things and don’t deliver, that’s a warning sign.
5) Be realistic in what you expect from a publisher.
Yes, perfection can be too much to ask. What you should look for are a reasonable group or person to work with. Find someone who is willing to offer comments and listen to your input. Expect dedication. Understand that editors work with a bunch of other authors that are as passionate about their work as you are. And all of them deserve/want/need attention as well.
6) Know that you can’t know it all.
No matter how many guides you read, people you talk to, or research you do, you can’t know everything about your perspective publisher. Companies change, things happen, and what started one way can become something different. Adaptability is a necessity.
7) Don’t get so caught up in any one project that you get steamrolled.
When delays, problems, or roadblocks come up with your work, make sure that you have another project brewing. This can take the edge off of waiting for acceptances/rejections. Not feeling creative? Work on your marketing plan for the book. You can make a list of places you’d like to guest blog or reviewers you can send work to. Catch up on some reading. Feed your overactive imagination.
8) As the editing phase draws to an end, make sure you get your galley copy, and go over it carefully.
Once you’ve done that, put it aside for a few days and read it again. The longer you have been away from a manuscript, the more objective you can be. This is also the time when you catch mistakes that have nothing to do with grammar and spelling. Look for mistakes in logic, places where explanations should be, etc. No one else knows the inside of your character’s head, so make sure the words reflect their thoughts.
9) Enjoy the process.
Be both grateful and proud of your accomplishment. Make a mental checklist of anything that did not go smoothly, and think about how to you want to handle things for the next book.
©2010 Lori Titus