Bobbye Terry, who also writes under the pseudonyms Daryn Cross and Terry Campbell, is an author with experience writing across the genres and publishing in both traditional and e-formats. Now she shares her tips on how to choose the right digital publisher.
Are you a writer who craves to be published but no matter how many times you submit to print publishers you have a rejection to show for it? I know how frustrated one can be when this happens. If I’d saved every rejection letter I ever got, I could paper several houses, most likely including the White House, not that security would allow it. Now, I don’t claim to be the wise sage who has just the right answer, but I can give you my insights based on fifteen years of writing and having been published with a large New York house and a bunch of small press publishers with an emphasis on digital publication.
When choosing a home for your prize novel, don’t submit wildly in hopes that one of many will accept your work. Choose your publisher just like you would a physical property, with research, inspection and careful analysis of the contract.
Things to consider:
Longevity And Expertise
How long has the publisher been in business, who are the owners and what do they know about publishing” Do you trust them to make the decisions necessary to get your book up in a well-edited format and out on schedule?
Organization And Prep
Speaking of schedule, do they have one? One publisher of mine gives all her new authors a list of turnaround dates so they can see exactly where the book will be in each phase of the editing process and, assuming you can stick to your deadlines, the book comes out as anticipated.
Get connected, make sure you are around other authors—a lot. This is best done by joining reputable organizations, reading publications and blogs such as those at “RT Book Reviews,” joining listservs and taking workshops. Get to know people online and in person, post to social networking sites. You will have better exposure while learning a lot and getting feedback from authors on which publishers do a good job.
Current Authors and Awards
What talent has the house already attracted? Are the books winning awards, and are any of the authors people you can contact to ask questions about his or her experience with the house?
Statistics on Actual Sales
What information can you derive about actual sales? Unless they’re highlighted on a website like Brenda Hyatt keeps, you may have difficulty getting actual numbers. This is where talking to current authors helps. They should be willing to share rough estimates, if nothing else.
Do They Publish Your Genre?
No use to submit to a house that doesn’t publish your genre or seldom caters to it. Make sure the house and its readership is a good fit for your work.
One Publisher or More?
As much as I might love working with one publisher, I doubt I will ever have my books with just one again. This comes from the experience of having publishers, good and bad, go out of business leaving me with no publishing home. I am currently with five publishers: Black Opal Books, Crescent Moon Press, Eternal Press, L&L Dreamspell, and Turquoise Morning Press. Additionally, I plan to indie publish a series of science fiction novels myself. Keep your options open, folks. You get better exposure and it keeps you safe.
Though each of the above is useful to consider, don’t necessarily turn one down because a single element is missing. For instance, a publisher may be less than a year old, but the expertise and talents of the owners may trump that. All things need to be considered as a package. After all, if it were a house you were hunting for, one might have the six-burner stove you always wanted but house number two might be in a better school district for your kids. All things must be analyzed and evaluated. Also, make sure your work is well-edited and polished before you submit. Good luck. I hope you are as fortunate as I am now and don’t have to learn by trial and error as I did during my tenure as an author.
- Bobbye Terry