Friday, April 5, 2013


Want to find a publisher? Then do your homework!

Ouch! Did that sound grouchy? I'm just exasperated at times by the unprofessional attempts some people make in trying to find a publisher. Lately, maybe because it's spring, there seems to be a lot of this going around.

For starters, take the time to find out who the heck the publisher is. I just love getting emails addressed to "Dear Sirs." Then in three sentences or so the email states that the author has a book ready for me to publish. Really? At least take the time to do some homework. What is the publisher or acquisition editor's name? It's not that hard to find out. But, don't do an email at all unless you specifically, and factually, know it is okay.

New Acquisitions Editor Ben
I get a lot of phone calls, too. Most of them I pass on to my acquisition editor who almost always promptly cuts the caller off. I don't have the heart to do this. Sometimes I actually talk with the person. Rarely do I ask for the manuscript, however. Calling the publisher is really NOT a good idea. You only get through to me by accident because our publishing house is too small to hire a full-time receptionist/secretary to answer the calls!

In fact, don't call or email. Most publishers will not accept calls or email queries. I suppose you could query as to whether the publishing house is accepting queries...but probably not.

Finally, do not approach me when I am doing a book event. This is not the time. I am there to promote my authors and sell their books. This is absolutely NOT the time to try to talk me into taking your book. If you try to do so, I guarantee you I'll never consider your work. Ever. Ask for my card. Contact me later.

So, what to do? Impress upon the publisher that you know how to write.Compose a brilliant, well-written  letter, like one I recently received from a very savvy man in New York. In the letter, succinctly describe your book and show your marketing plan. Then, and only then, if the publisher asks to see your manuscript, do you send the requested chapters. If the publisher says they are NOT accepting submissions, save  your time and postage. It's really just that simple.

If a publisher turns your manuscript down, please do not argue with them about it, for pete sake.

Be aware that most publishers do not want to "reissue" a book you've already had published, especially if it was published by a subsidy/vanity press, or self-published. And, if you've had a book published by a traditional house, a publisher may also turn you down...this is a red flag warning! You see, the problem is, why isn't your original publisher taking your book? Did it not sell? Were you difficult to deal with? Did you not participate in selling your book?

Sometimes I just run into people in
in weird Margaritaville!
So, how do I come across most of my manuscripts? Good question. A few authors have been accepted because of well-written queries. Rusty Richards, J.R. Sanders, P.A. Arnold, and Robert Walton come to mind. Sometimes I seek out authors, such as Lee Anderson and Jerry Tindell (still waiting on Jerry!). Sometimes I meet someone, like Stoney Greywolf Bowers and Paula Silici. Sometimes I just run into people in weird places!

And one last little bit of advice - in case you want it - do not ever submit a manuscript that has not been professionally edited. I don't mean proofread. I mean EDITED. Put your money into the manuscript you've spent hundreds of hours on. Invest in yourself before you ask someone else to invest in you.

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