Is a Publisher Right for You?
As writers, we’re often asked the same type of questions, but a few have been prevalent lately when I meet aspiring authors and readers.
“Are you with a publisher?”
“Do you want to be with a publisher?”
And the always fun, “Are you a serious writer if you don’t use a publisher?”
In many ways, I view all three of these as the same question to which I answer, “Yes.”
That brings the standard follow-up question, “Why aren’t you?”
As many of you have probably noticed by now, I’m not shy about sharing my thoughts, so this is where it gets fun.
I’m extremely picky (Anal may be a better word) when it comes to trusting another with one of my manuscripts (babies). Basically, if I see anything that unsettles me about their business practices or how they handle their authors I walk away. To give you an example, I was looking into sending my books to one after I started self-publishing. Everything looked great, but my WIP at the time needed more work so I waited until I felt it was ready to send in. Shortly before I did, I decided to research the publisher on Amazon.com.
It was something I didn’t think of before since they had a good reputation and the authors and readers of their books loved them. When I pulled some of their titles up, I found a majority of the reviews they received that were two stars or less were attacked by their other authors and readers I had met online. While I prefer not to think the publisher had anything to do with that, witnessing the owner of the company act in a pretentious, condescending manner toward others I know didn’t sit well with me.
Another publisher that accepted manuscripts through a signup sheet on their website took three weeks to send me the automated thank you message for sending them a manuscript. Seriously? Three weeks for an automated message? Needless to say I didn’t go with them when they did get back to me.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t mind finding a publisher one day, but I’m happy self-publishing. I have the freedom to publish my work when I’m ready instead of waiting six months or a year. I can keep my digital prices as low as I feel is competitive and fair for people.
I have to admit, my vetting process is meticulous but I feel it works best for me. At the end of the day, the only one that can answer if a publisher is right for you is you. Not me. Not a friend. You. What’s that mean? Be sure to do your homework and do what feels right to you.
One of the things that turns me off of any publisher is when they ask for money to cover the costs of editing, cover art, advertisement, or special packages. The number one rule is if a publisher asks for money in any way, walk away. Though they may claim otherwise, they’re a vanity press and aren’t worth your time and often become a bigger pain in the backside than not.
Okay, I know you’re wondering if I have anything good to say about publishers. I prefer ones that are a tight-knit community that work to help one another and are willing to invest in helping an author be the best they can be and I have found a few that look promising.
At the end of the day, publishers are businesses looking to make a profit. Being turned down by them isn’t the end of the world, but neither is choosing to pass them by.
What are your experiences? I’d love to hear your thoughts.