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Finding The Right Publisher For Your Work

June 15th, 2018

First, thanks once again to Elyse for another interesting post. It’s full of useful advice and shows just how important it is to look objectively at what’s on offer when a publisher shows an interest in your work. I know it’s a wonderful feeling when someone says they want to take your book and publish it, but don’t jump in before you’ve gone through everything with a fine toothcomb.

You need to know whether they are going to publish your book as a print run, as print on demand or as an e-book  –  or whether there will be a combination of these.

How long will the contract last and if they decide to stop producing your book, will you be free to take back ownership and find a new publisher or do it yourself?

Will there be an advance and what will the royalties be? These days, the fact that they are not offering an advance isn’t necessarily a bad sign. Times are hard. But, head in the opposite direction – fast – if they start asking you for money.  I know that it’s easy to feel flattered when people tell you that they love your work and it’s the best thing they’ve seen for years.  But don’t let that sway you into parting with your hard-earned cash. Companies who do this are called ‘Vanity Publishers’ – the clue is in the title! Here are some sites that you might want to check out to learn more – and arm yourself to avoid the perils and pitfalls:

https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/writers/advice/255/self-publishing/considering-self-publishing/self-publishing-vs-vanity-publishing-confused

http://www.vanitypublishing.info/

http://www.theindependentpublishingmagazine.com/2012/11/how-to-avoid-the-vanity-publishing-trap.html

Always go online and check for what is being said about the company. These days, if they’re not dealing fairly with their writers then word gets out. So put the name into a google search and see what happens.

Check out how good other books published by the company look, whether online or in print. Do they look professional? Would they tempt you to buy them? Have you seen books by that publishing company in your local bookstore, Waterstones or supermarket? If not, then alarm bells should start ringing. How are you going to earn money from your book if no one  knows about it? It’s vital that a publisher has a good distribution network if they’re to do the best for you.

Finally, for this post, what sort of promotion do they have in place? These days it’s an accepted fact that most authors have to do some of their own promotion – interviews, book-signings, website, an active social media presence. But you also need some back up from your publisher if your book is going to get out there in front of the reading public.

There are, of course, lots of things you need to consider but probably the best piece of advice I can give is as soon as you are offered a contract join the Society of Authors. They wage a relentless campaign against unfair contract terms and once you are a member they will vet your contract free of charge and give you advice on whether you should proceed. So, don’t feel you’re on your  own – there are people out there who can give you help and stop you signing up to something that you might later regret.

My guest next week is Michela Tamma who recently won third prize in our Short Story Competition with ‘Voyage’. She’ll be telling you what it feels like to be a writer who doesn’t really want to write!

Author: Diana Nadin

 

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