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Finding Yourself A Publisher

December 11th, 2018

In my blog last week I mentioned using your local library to see what’s going on in the magazine world and do your research into what editors want. But I’ve also recently downloaded the BorrowBox app that allows me to borrow e-books from the library. It’s great for when you don’t want to trek across town in the rain with a big bag of books. It also means I can download books to my Kindle Fire that I might otherwise have to buy from Amazon. So it really is a win-win situation and if you don’t already have access to your library’s online catalogue it’s worth looking into. You have 14 days before the book disappears – but you do have the option to renew.

Let’s now look at things from the other side – not the book-reading public, but you as an author. If you’ve tried unsuccessfully to interest one of the commercial publishers or an agent in your work but you don’t have the confidence (or preference) to self-publish then one of the growing number of small, independent publishers might be what you’re looking for.

Just google ‘small independent publishers’ and you’ll  find loads out there. But if you do go down that route you want to avoid a bad experience; so here are a few things you might like to check on before you make a decision:

  1. Read any reviews that you can find online. Just like ‘TripAdvisor’ some people are picky and you’ll have to weed out what is valid criticism from what seems serious.
  2. Look at their website. Does it look professional? They’re not going to do a good job for you if they can’t organise themselves.
  3. Are they easy to contact and do they have a bricks and mortar address shown on their website. Try phoning to check they are really based there and if you want information, see how long it takes to get a reply to your query.
  4. Check out the other titles that they are publishing. Does you subject/genre seem to fit in? Is the artwork on their book covers eye-catching? It might even be worth looking in your local bookshop to see if they stock their titles or, failing this, order one online or from their website to see how well they are produced.
  5. Have you heard of any of the other people they represent? Are their books widely available – not just on the publisher’s website? This means they must do some marketing on their authors’ behalf, which is always a bonus. But, these days, you must be prepared to market yourself and your book via social media, author talks, etc. Publishers don’t want passive authors!
  6. Communicate. Read their FAQs, ask questions, don’t be fobbed off and make sure you know what format the book will appear in (e-book, print run, print on demand). Find out the publishing timescale and how you will be paid. Many people are embarrassed to talk about money – it’s essential if you want to avoid being ripped off.
  7. Finally, don’t get sucked in by a vanity publisher (this shouldn’t happen if you’ve followed the previous six steps). If you’re asked to pay towards the publishing process, walk away. But, don’t expect a big advance (or any advance in the case of a small company). After all, if you’ve done your ‘due diligence’ you’ll be confident that you can earn your money back from sale in due course!

So, if you’ve got a book hidden away in a drawer make it a New Year resolution to get it out, dust it off and get doing your research!

Author: Diana Nadin

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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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