Before you commit your novel to a publisher, do your homework. Make sure you are a good fit. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all. How do you do this? Where do you look for answers?
- The first stop is to look at the website. If you like it, write down some of the titles they publish.
- Go to Amazon and look at the books. Use the Search Inside feature and read some of the book. Is this a book you would be happy to have sitting next to yours? Look at the cover, the formatting, and particularly at the writing. The reviews are also important. It’s not so much a matter of how many reviews as what they say. Do any of the reviews mention the writing or the plot or the characters?
- Preditors and Editors is a website (pred-ed.com) with an extensive database of writing related information. The Book Publisher and Distributor Listings are alphabetized. Some are recommended, others not. If your publisher does NOT appear on these pages, go on to there sites. But, if you publisher is “not recommended” proceed with caution
- Poets & Writers (pw.org) also has a listing of small presses. Since a lot of their readers are poets, they concentrate on publishers who offer to publish poetry. Again, lack of a listing is not a black mark.
- Writers Beware (http://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-authors/writer-beware/) is sponsored by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, but the website is a valuable resource for any writer, regardless of genre. There section on small presses begins with section that includes Issues to Consider before Submitting, followed by a section on Evaluating a Small Press–both well worth reading.
- Last and probably the least reliable is Google. You can type in the name of the publisher and add the word Reviews. This can warn of some egregious practices, but it can also bring up rants by rejected authors.
If you have looked at all of the above and still believe your chosen publisher might be “the one,” it is time to contact someone and ask a few questions. Here is an example, but you will have many of your own to add.
- What do you do for me as an author?
- What do you expect from me?
- How do you publicize your books?
- How much will it cost me?
- Do you have a succession plan?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. After all, you are entrusting this company with your baby–the one you spent months or years writing. Make sure you have a good fit. Divorcing a publisher can be more difficult than divorcing a spouse.
NEXT TIME – HINTS ON EDITING