Let’s say you’ve just finished your book. And I mean finished. You’ve gone through multiple drafts, had it looked over by alpha and beta readers then sorted through their feedback, edited, redrafted, almost turned to drink, and come out the other side with something wonderful.
What to do next? This thing has been your focus for maybe years. Let’s face it, out books are like our children. We raise them up, shaping them into something we can be proud of. We want what’s best for our books. And there are lots of options. You can go the route of seeking an agent to represent you, get your books to publishers that you couldn’t reach on your own. Or you can take on everything yourself and self-publish – hard work and lots of heavy learning, gives more control over your creation. There are even companies that you can pay to publish your work for you – they’ll do the editing, cover design, maybe even some marketing.
All options have pros and cons. What works for one author might not work for another. You have to judge them on what’s right for you and your book. Whatever you do, you have to go in with your eyes open and know what to expect. Because not everyone is honest and young, naive, or rejected writers are blood in the waters to these sharks.
Look out for anyone who says they are there to make dreams come true, or take a chance on new writers. Publishers aren’t there for dreams. Publishers are there to sell books. A publisher’s market is readers, and that’s who they should be directing their marketing towards. If they’re too busy seeking out new authors to take a chance on, how will they find the time to sell those books? Beware for anyone who says first time writers have to pay. This is not true. There may be times when a writer wants to pay, and that’s fine as long as they make the decision and thoroughly research the options, just as you would when buying any other product.
How do you tell a shark? Speaking to authors on their list can be one way, but if they don’t realise that they don’t necessarily have to pay, if they’ve been conned into thinking you can’t be serious about your book if you don’t want invest in it, they might give a glowing report. All writers invest massively in their books – that’s the time spent writing, editing, head-banging the desk, buying more and more tea etc. Publishing should be about the pay-off on that time.
There are several good places to check out:
Preditors and Editors has a wealth of information for writers. They have a directory of publishers, with notes about who to avoid.
Writer Beware is similarly extensive and the blog has useful news to keep up to date. Also has thumbs down lists of agents and publishers to avoid.
The Absolute Write forums is a good place to go if you’ve come across a publisher and want to know more about them,
Any other good resources, let me know in the comments and I’ll add them.