Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Selling Your Manuscript

A friend called me tonight to ask about an offer she received for her manuscript. A so-called  "publisher" wants to publish her book. The catch is, she would have to preorder a hundred books at ten dollars each. Yes, that's a thousand dollar investment on her part before her book ever goes to press. She wanted my opinion. Guess what I told her? Don't even consider that an offer!

Writers often fall prey to the few pirhanas in the publishing industry. We want readers to read our work, want to hold a copy of our baby in our hands. It's hard to go the traditional publishing route where either you must have an agent and/or you wait months to hear whether your book is accepted for contract. In fact, I've had manuscripts get lost at publishers. One I submitted four years ago has never received a rejection. Fortunately for me, it will be released September 3rd from The Wild Rose Press--an author-friendly press who value their authors and treat them well.

The Internet makes it easy to set oneself up as a publisher. Many small presses have overestimated the ease of being a publisher and have gone belly up, leaving their authors dangling. The cardinal rule in publishing is this:

                          If they ask you to pay, run away!

And by run, I mean fast! No reputable publisher asks money from its authors. The publisher provides the covers, marketing, editing, everything. Never fall for the "Oh, but we have expenses" line. Are they a reputable business or not? If they are, they have procedures in place to take care of the author's manuscript from reading to release.

I have to share that I love working with The Wild Rose Press. The covers are great, the editors are knowledgeable and gracious, and the marketing is well managed. Plus, the owners are author-friendly and strive to make this house a family. I like that. I have enjoyed all the interaction I've experiences with the owners, editors, staff and other authors. Many friends who write for other small presses are also happy.

Whatever your choice, consider wisely before you sign a contract. The advance offered by major houses is lovely. Small presses can't match that aspect, but there are many reputable small presses. No matter what you choose, never, never, never pay out of pocket to have your manuscript published.

1 comment:

Caroline Clemmons said...

I realize that authors who have no following and wish to publish poetry, devotionals, or other works that might involve low print run and/or limited sales might have to go with a vanity or subsidy press. My blog comments were addressed to authors of popular fiction.