Monday, January 14, 2008

How do you decide which publisher to send your baby to? Article by Pamela Reese

My friend Pam sent me this sage piece of advice this weekend. A lot I know, but I get asked similar questions a lot about publishing, so rather than me rewrite this when it's already so good, I asked Pam for permission to post it on my blog and she said yes. Here it is. Thanks Pam! Your book is completed, and whether it is the first or you are ready at last to make the leap from epublishing to traditional, making the choice between trying for a major house publisher or a small publisher can be a difficult decision, complicated by a plethora of variables. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider when approaching this decision. Many of the large houses (Harlequin, among others, is notorious for this) can take several MONTHS to answer your query. IF they are then interested they may request a partial...several more months...and then a full (if you are lucky) and several more months before you even have a yes or no. So figure pretty much a year just to hear yes or no. IF it is yes, figure another year for edits and publication. Two years to get your baby on the bookshelf. On the plus side...being published by a major house means being in more bookstores, and getting somewhat more 'noticed' than a small house. A larger publisher can often afford somewhat more in advance money, and they have top drawer editors and cover art. Plus that 'big name' looks good on that query and opens doors for the next book. A small publisher usually gives you a quicker answer (even backlogged as they are now, you will have a yes or no within a few months) and a much quicker turnaround and gets you on the shelves sooner. A smaller publisher is also more 'personal' so for nervous, or high-strung writers who would be stressed by the pressure of a big house a small publisher can be a much more stress-friendly alternative. Small houses usually mean small or sometimes no advance money, and the cover art may or may not be on a par with larger houses. Small houses are, naturally, much more vulnerable to swings in the market...but there are risks in everything. A small publisher means a lot more of the marketing and publicity falls on your shoulders, but for a first time author...big house or small...this is fairly well true for all but the chosen few. True, the bigger publisher may have a larger impact with the bookstores, but they rarely finance the once beloved book signing tours and most of the authors I know, even those with top publishing houses, must search out, apply for, and pay to attend the majority of events that will impact their book sales as well as arranging interviews. So no matter the size of the publishing house you decide on, be prepared to market your book! Perhaps the two most important considerations may well be: Is this publisher, regardless of size, a good 'fit' for you as an author and this book you have worked so hard to bring to life? And.... do they have an opening you/your book can fill better than anyone else? If those answers are both yes... you are well on your way to a good decision. Do your research before you submit to any publisher. Know your book, yourself, and your market. Good writing and good luck, Pamela Reese

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