Sunday, March 30, 2014

Choosing A Publisher

Recently I threw my hat into the ring of Savvy Authors. It is a terrific website with tips and workshops for writers. In February writers were invited to pitch their novel to as many of the 30 participating publishers. I chose 17 after looking at their descriptions and the kinds of stories they were seeking. The trick was to pitch your work using only three sentences. Then I waited.

Out of the 17 pitches, seven publishers actually wanted to either see the first three chapters or a full manuscript. Needless to say, not only was I excited, but I also felt panic get a strangle hold on my confidence.  Again, I waited.

Then I opened my email to find out I had three publishers that liked my manuscript enough to offer me a contract. (I also opened a few that said “thanks, but no thanks.”) So then I had to decide which one was best for me. This has been a learning experience. Here is my method of madness.

1.     Read the contract. Do you have questions?
2.     Ask questions. Do they answer in a timely fashion?
3.     Research the company.
4.     Look at some of the other books they have published. Like or dislike?
5.     If possible talk to some of the authors about their satisfaction level.
6.     Go to the Absolute Water Cooler to see what others are saying about the company. CAUTION: I noticed some of the same people complain on every site.
7.     Ask published authors in your writing group for advice. Their experiences and contacts are valuable to your decision.
8.     What services are they offering to make you successful?
9.     Are they interested in seeing something else you have written?
10  And last but not least; what are the royalties paid to you?

I’m sure as time goes on, the list will grow. This is all very new and exciting right now. Making mistakes is part of the growing process. I would love to hear any other advice from you before I sign on the dotted line.


  1. I learn so much reading your posts. Thank you for sharing what you're learning along the way.

    And congratulations! That's fantastic!

  2. Congrats! Can't wait to see who you choose. One thing I like about my choice of publishers, the editor seems really friendly. And I get prompt e-mails.

  3. Congratulations on the offers and on taking the time to investigate the publishers. Have you checked Brenda Hiatt's Show me the Money? It shows average advances/royalties/payouts for different houses.

  4. Great list and I absolutely agree! I especially like your point of asking the publisher if you have questions. I was so impressed at the prompt and friendly reply of my publisher when I had several questions. Congratulations on the offer and Best of Luck!! Barb Bettis

  5. Fantastic! I'm thrilled for you and can't wait to see which houses offered you a contract!

    I'd add to go to their site and look at the cover art. Covers are so important and if they look shoddy or self-pubbed, I'd pass.
    It's also telling if authors use them more than once.

    Everything seems to be happening really fast for you! Good luck.