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Finding a Publisher

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by kinslayeur, May 13, 2017.

  1. kinslayeur

    kinslayeur Scribe

    So you finished your WIP and you want to send out to a publisher to see if you get rejected or (gasp).... accepted!

    I did the exact same and let me tell you how it has gone. First, I want to say if you get rejection letters (I did), don't fret over them. Read them, accept them, if you can.... learn from them. Not every rejection letter is useful, some might make you shake your head and wonder what they are talking about (I had one that totally confused me). But, they will happen.

    So for the fun part. IF and WHEN you get that email correspondence that says we are interested in your manuscript and would like to talk to you further..... DON'T think you've done it. Because you haven't. It's only interest. It's not guaranteed. They are interested in it, but they haven't made a decision. Use this time to help sell your book and yourself to the. Ask them questions about the process, how they operate, and then ask them if they have questions for you.

    Do your research. I can't stress this one enough. Not just on who they are, but what they are, how they do things, reach out to other authors that have worked with them or are still under contract (don't do it without their permission... can be a bit of a sticky situation) to see what they think. Check them out on BBB. The more research you do, the better decision you can make.

    Okay, so you've done the research, you have asked questions, now you wait for the possible contract. Bam! There is it. Contract in an email and now you get to wade through the fun stuff: Legal mumbo jumbo. Expect to be a bit confused (as I was) and make sure you research words you don't know and if you still need help, ask them to clearly define them. I did and was given proper context for some areas that when I did the research I found was wrong.

    Secondly, if you can afford to have an attorney look it over, DO IT! They are not cheap, but if you are signing a contract, you are signing your work to someone. Money you spend will be worth it in the long run to make sure you don't get hosed. So many times in this industry do authors get excited and sign without fully understanding what the contract will and won't do for them. I almost got caught up in this. I spent the money (675) to send to an attorney. What you do, is your personal choice though.

    From there, make sure you are ready for the whirlwind of things you will need to do for the publisher if you sign the contract. The contract will spell it out for you regarding deadline to get them your completed manuscript (usually 15 days) as well as what else you need to do. If the contract says send money, I wouldn't be signing that contract. Mine never mentioned money in that regard and I am aware of what I have to do (get social media setup as an author, get manuscript ready for them... those sorts of things) while they do the rest.

    Then you wait for them to edit your manuscript and I want to say that you should seriously consider the changes they want made, however you must also remember IT IS YOUR BOOK. You must keep it to the core the same. Small changes are fine, but big changes that ultimately change the book are ones to be willing to defend against.

    Don't expect the turnaround time frame from when you sign a contract to when the book is actually published to be a month or a few. It can take a year or maybe longer depending on how much work the publisher has to do to get your book ready to be published. So be understanding of this. If you want quick turnaround, self-publishing is a better choice for you.

    Just a few things I've learned in working with and finding a publisher.
    KC Trae Becker likes this.
  2. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

    While the path to finding a publisher often varies, you've hit many of the highlights.

    I will add: Even if you don't go with an attorney, (as stated securing the services of a reputable literary attorney is wise), remember that every contract should be negotiable. If a publisher is unmovable on the boilerplate contract--must be signed exactly as is...that's generally not good for the author. It's best to walk away from a bad or questionable contract. There are clauses that could potentially impact a budding writing career in a negative way, far beyond the novel in question.
  3. kinslayeur

    kinslayeur Scribe

    You are absolutely correct. Thank you for your additions to this.
  4. Russ

    Russ Istar

    Not quite everything is negotiable. IT really depends on what publisher you are dealing with and which terms you are talking about. The larger the publisher, the less flexible the tend to be, but, the more they tend to pay. They don't want to vary terms for you because it will impact the 500 other authors they do business with. There are some terms that publishers won't move on even for authors who make them 7 figure profits and have 20 books out. You need to know which is which. E book royalties and the definition of "in print" are among them.

    And when you think about negotiations, you need to understand what bargaining power you have. For a debut, unagented author, your bargaining power is low. IF you have a good agent you are in a far better position in so many ways. IF you have a publishing contract in had with more than a $5000 advance, getting an half decent agent should not be hard. Agents will also get you money from foreign deals that you would never have a chance at without an agent.

    When you think about he value of a contract you also need to really understand the industry and think about what the contract means to you in real dollars and actual income. Let me give you an example.

    I have a friend who put his first book out with a smaller publisher, on a no advance deal, but it had a very good, well above industry standard on his e book royalty rate. He is doing okay. However I know people in a very similar position who got a modest advance from a big five publisher, but are making significantly more money on hardcover, paperbacks, and even on e-books.

    Just because somebody is going to give you a 40% royalty rate on e-books rather than say 30% doesn't do you any good if they are going to price your e book at 2.99 instead of 10.00 and not promote it widely.

    There are a lot of moving parts to making your living at writing and you have to know them cold to maximize your income. If you are just dabbling it doesn't matter.

    One of the best ways to learn all this stuff (beyond the obvious of having a good agent) is to go to conferences and sit in the bar and drink with authors. They love talking about this stuff.

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