How To Find the Right Publisher:
So you've finally finished writing your novel… What now?
A popular question I receive through my website is from aspiring writers wanting to know how to submit their new manuscript to a publisher. By the time you’ve reached the stage when you are asking this question, you’ve realized shopping a manuscript is time consuming, often confusing, and always frustrating. Luckily, there are many resources available to help aspiring authors succeed. The trick will be investing the time to research the plethora of information out there, selecting what applies to you, and actually putting that information to work.
Ultimately, the goal is to gain a contract with a publisher. But selecting the right publisher is critical. If your manuscript is half decent, someone will publish it. However, you must be careful. There are many publishers out there, and not all of them are credible.
There are several ways to go about finding the right publisher. I will outline those points within this article, but before we jump into things, keep in mind you are entering into a business agreement. Make no mistake about it; you are interviewing the publisher as well as being interviewed. This should be an equal trade of benefits. You will present your benefits (your book) in a unique and exciting way and the potential publisher will present their resources (i.e.: distribution strength, visibility, compensation, etc.).
Your search for a publisher may, at first, seem random and fruitless. But if you follow a few key rules, your quest will be organized and rewarding. Here are some easy steps to help you on your journey to finding the right publisher…
what is important to you?: Is it money, fame, or just simply sharing a message? Whatever it is, write it down. This will help keep your search focused and goal oriented.
BE REALISTIC: Give yourself a reality check. Have a clear understanding of your strengths and recognize your weaknesses.
RESEARCH YOUR OPTIONS: There are literally hundreds of publishers out there, and many of them specialize in specific genres. I will never forget a rather embarrassing lesson I learned early in my career. I sent my first manuscript to a big New York publisher. I waited three long months before I received a response. The editor politely informed me I had submitted my erotic novel to a publisher of children’s books. She then went on to rip my manuscript apart. And guess what? I deserved the torture 100%. I should have researched the company better. Learn from my mistake. Do your research!
Make a list of potential publishers: As I mentioned before, there are many firms to choose from, but do they publish your genre? Here is a trick I’ve learned; The more specific the genre, the better your chances are to getting published.
For instance, if you’ve written a romance novel about a woman who has been abducted by aliens; shop your book to publishers who specialize in romance. Even better, look for publishers who specialize in sci-fi romance. Perhaps your story has an interracial twist; then shop your book to romance publishers who have a strong multicultural entity.
My point is, be smart about who you submit your manuscript to. You should always have a strategy. Often, publishers who have a specialized niche, are desperate to build up their genre options. As a result, editors are eager to read manuscripts that help round out their selection.
Check the publisher’s website: Is it functional? Is it informative? Do all the links work? This sounds silly, but you would be surprised by how many bad websites I’ve come across. A website is your first impression to a company. If the publisher puts minimal effort into updating their site, this is a chilling forecast of how attentive they will be to your account.
Do a case study: If you’ve found a publisher that interests you, do a case study on one of their authors. Search the web and see how many places the book can be found. This should give you a fairly good idea of the publisher’s distribution base.
Is the price right?: As you know, book prices are based on genre, publication style, number of pages, etc. You, as an author, know when a book is being sold at the right price point. During your case study, check to see if you like the retail price of the book. Are you comfortable with your findings? The retail price directly effects the author’s royalties.
Education is key. The most important thing you should gain from this article is understanding what you are about to enter into. Unlike myself, I jumped into the publishing realm with both feet. I’ve made a few mistakes and, as a result, I’ve learned a lot about myself. Hopefully, by reading this article, you will not stumble into the same situations I did.
-Tiffany Ashley, Author
‘Romance’s Best Kept Secret’
If you found this article helpful please read, 7 Things To Know Before Sending Your Manuscript.