Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thinking Thoughts of Publishing

The beauty of the written word is that it can be held close to the heart and read over and over again. ~ Florence Littauer

This post may make people who are only readers (and not writers) eyes glaze over. Just a heads up.

I've been thinking about publishing a lot lately, and publishers. What folks want out of being published, what I want, and whether all of us a a little out of our minds.

I get asked by a lot of people what I think about such-and-such ePublishers. Because of LASR, I have dealings with MANY romance ePubs (I won't say "all", but I will say I've probably touched something from every romance ePub that's out there at least once). I know who responds quickly to my requests, who is polite, who isn't, whose authors are the most professional, who gets dinged for editing errors the most, which ones consistently rate highest with my reviewers because their releases are consistently good, which ones my reviewers will buy from if they don't get the books they want from us, and more.

I know who I would and wouldn't publish with based on this knowledge. And, no, I'm not saying that here. What I will say is this: DO YOU HOMEWORK. Don't just send out submissions willy-nilly, or take the opinion of one or two authors who are published with someone.

Read several releases from them. Are the stories good? The editing? Would YOU have contracted it, had you been the editor?

Scour the internet (but take what you find with a grain of salt). If the vast majority of what you find from different sources is positive, then it's probably right, and vice versa. There are always folks who are angry and/or glowing that could probably be written off (sort of like in the Olympics when they don't include the highest and lowest scores).

Decide WHY you want to be published. Is it to build a strong writing resume? To make decent sales? To strengthen your writing (because a good editor will teach you incredible amounts of stuff)? Or, do you just want to be published... because?

Decide what you want and what isn't negotiable and then do that. I have a friend who is being published with a company that is a British one, and her manuscript is being released in British English. Not that big a deal, right? I mean, the folks from over the pond who publish HERE have to do the reverse... but for some strange reason, I wasn't thrilled with the idea. I can't put my finger on why, but I probably wouldn't want to publish with them (despite the fact I've heard nothing but good things about them, and the work we've seen from them at LASR has been top-notch).

What about those of you published with ePubs? What things do you look for and what are deal-breakers for you? Please chime in!!


You Are a Giraffe Print

You are a graceful and classy person. You are flexible enough to fit in with any crowd.

You are very down to earth and responsible. You always see what's coming, and you are prepared for it.

You may not look like the strongest creature in the world, but you are secretly incredibly tough.

You have an amazing survival instinct, and your endurance is unmatched. People should never test you!

Hmmm... yes and no.



Dru said...

Very interesting post and here's my question: Is the book that will be published in British English be sold in the U.S.?

You Are a Leopard Print

You are vain, but you also have a lot to be vain for. You are definitely a stunning creature.

You have a keen sense of observation, and you like to watch and learn before you act.

You are highly sensitive, and it's easy for you to be affected by the world around you.

Deep down, you need to be taken care of, even though you may not admit it. You need love as much as anyone else does.

The above is 65% accurate.

Have a good Sunday.

Maria Zannini said...

It makes no difference to me if it's British English or American. I think in this global community we ought to be "bilingual" by now. LOL.

As for publishers, I've had more experience with magazine publishers than book publishers, but the criteria for me is the same. They have to be willing to communicate. If I email them with a question, I expect an answer within a reasonable amount of time. Slow or lack of response automatically puts them in my 'approach with caution' bin.

It tells me the staff might not be especially organized and I could easily fall through the cracks through their negligence.

MJFredrick said...

Lately this is all that's on my mind. I have two e-pubs I'm mostly happy with, but am willing to try new. One of my cps writes for Ellora's Cave, Total E-Bound, Wild Rose Press and now Resplendence. I think it's good to have options. The one that's intriguing me right now is Carina Press. Their covers are stunning and I would LOVE to work with Angela James.

Marianne Arkins said...

Dru, yes the books will be sold here.

Maria, while I don't disagree entirely, I do know that when I'm reading a book in British English, I'm often thrown out of the story for unfamiliar spelling. We truly are two countries separated by a common language.

Mary, I absolutely agree with what you've said -- and am also open to trying new-to-me publishers (provided I've done my homework). Carina interests me too, at least for shorter works -- I still want to see novel length stuff in print. :::shrugs::: that's another one of my quirks, I suppose!

Ceri Hebert said...

Two things that are important (though not necessarily deal breakers-but that depends on the other attributes of the publisher) is that the publisher accepts electronic submissions. This day and age they all should. Sending it by snail mail, especially if it's going out of the country, is a pain, it takes so long, kills trees and there's too many places it can get lost. I sent a submission to HQ in Canada and, living in a small town, surrounded by small towns, it was very difficult to find what I needed for return postage. Can't just put a US stamp on it.

The other important quality is that they actually send a rejection. Okay, it doesn't have to be a personal rejection, but having some kind of indication that they're not interested should be a must. There's a company out there that says if they're not interested we won't hear back. If we're sending something via email what's wrong with taking a minute and replying. I hate dangling.

Otherwise I look at cover art, word of mouth from other authors who work with the publisher or are familiar with the publisher.

There are so many things to look at.

MJFredrick said...

No, I'm with you--I love holding my books! And there are still so many people who won't buy ebooks yet. I have a longer book submitted now, and a shorter ready to go :)

MJFredrick said...

Ceri, yes, I look at cover art, too. Has to be appealing!

Diane Craver said...

I don't want to just be published but want a reputable publisher. I want to make money from my writing. I spend too much time on it not to make anything.

I also love email submissions.

I spend time checking out publishers before I submit to them. I see what authors they have published and what kind of reviews their books receive. If I personally know the authors, I ask them what they like and dislike about their publisher. I Google and see if there's anything negative circulating around about the publisher. Of course, if there is, it might be an unhappy author. But I research and see what I can learn before submitting.

I look at the cover art, too. If I don't like their covers, I won't submit to them. I also check out what they pay in royalties.

J.A. Saare said...

It's a complex and narrow path to wander, this road to publishing, innit? ;)

When I started, I honestly believed I had done my homework... Little did I know, I had only just dipped my toe into the water. There were so many more presses to be had.

I know I'm one of those who asked you where to submit. I only wish I had been able to sooner to have some options with certain work(s). Truth is, there is nothing better than word of mouth (or, as you said, being a loyal customer) to paint the picture you can expect.

Great blog!


Brandy said...

I'm just a reader, but I still found your post informative. *G* I rarely read a British book, there's something not just about the language, but something else that nags at me and keeps me out of the story.

I hope you have a lovely Sunday.

Wendi Zwaduk said...

I look at it this way, if the story is good, then the language used shouldn't be an issue. I say this because there are a lot of books that are historical or fantasy and have language I can't say or can't figure out how to say, and while it takes me out of the story a bit, again, if the story is good, then it's not an issue for me.

Huh, and it seems to think I'm a zebra print. Interesting.

You are a very unique and special person. And you like to surround yourself with similarly unique people.
It's hard for you to compromise with other people. You do things your own way, and you can be a bit stubborn at times.

You are intelligent and perceptive. You have a very interesting take on the world, and you tend to see things a bit differently.
You are always growing, changing, and learning. You question limits and always challenge yourself to do more.

But to each her own.

Tori Lennox said...

I think doing your homework is important no matter whether you want to submit a book or buy a TV. :)

You Are a Zebra Print
You are a very unique and special person. And you like to surround yourself with similarly unique people.
It's hard for you to compromise with other people. You do things your own way, and you can be a bit stubborn at times.

You are intelligent and perceptive. You have a very interesting take on the world, and you tend to see things a bit differently.
You are always growing, changing, and learning. You question limits and always challenge yourself to do more.

This is kind of eerily true. *g*