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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Searching For Publishers

Oooh this is a tricky one! Why? Because the urge will be there to write to as many publishers as you can, as quick as you can! (You'll see).

Hopefully, your carefull planning will help you to avoid that. Because as you near the end of your 1st draft, you should have compiled a list from which you can make an informed choice.

There are huge publishing houses, Medium sized and the Smaller houses. Who do they represent? How many in your specific genre? How well do they do each year in getting their author's noticed.
There will be a temptation to write to the large ones, because they will get you noticed and make you rich and famous yes?

Sorry, statistics are against you.(Unless you are already established)

What did I do?
Okay, I admit it, I tried a few of the larger publishing houses to begin with. I followed their instructions to the letter. I avoided the temptation to send off multiple submissions. And it was awful waiting for the rejections.
The thing about the larger houses is, they have many, many editors covering each specific genre. If your submission ends up on the wrong desk on the right day? It's over.
Even if you get the right editor and you get through to the next stage - (and I did) - they are so commercialised that unless you've submitted at the right time, you can be rejected solely because of the fact they have already 'filled' this years 'slots' for, eg, Fantasy or Romance.
If you happen to have caught things exactly right - well - again, they may be sooo large, they can choose to be very, very picky.
Most of the time though - they are only interested in established authors who have published their work through other houses.

I've got to tell you a simple truth here. I used my head.

I started writing my first full length novel in November 2010. I completed my 1st draft in April 2011.
I did a re-edit, had it 'proof read' by several people and began submitting it to publishers around the end of May 2011.
By September, I was getting fed up with rejections. (Remember how I said to prepare yourself for this?) again - you'll see why....
On several occasions, I made it through to the next level.
On one occasion, the publishers asked me to 'restructure' my work to their particular taste.
I came so close. And for me, that was worse than an outright rejection.

So - I stopped the 'panic', used the constructive feedback I had received from four publishing houses, and did a major re-edit, transferring my entire work (well 99% of it) to American English. (I missed a few words! :)
This was completed by November 2011.

Then, I started narrowing my search to those publishers who were, how can I say? - different.
I specifically looked for established publishing houses who were widening their genre list and expanding. I also looked for established editors who were branching out.

THESE are the publishers to look for.
They are not a pushover - don't get me wrong - their business is to surround themselves with quality authors so they can make a viable living. BUT they will be hungry for new talent.

So, as I say, From the end of November 2011, I started a thorough search for quality publishers in this particular 'niche' and found half a dozen who were really attractive prospects.
I ensured my submission was top quality and started sending off applications.

Those I wrote to didnt mind multiple submissions, and so I honestly stated that fact on my application, assuring them I would not be foolish enough to try and play one off against the other.

Guess what happened?
My 1st application - a single submission - NO reply!
My second submission ( a double submission ) I got a very encouraging reply in only a week, (Yes - 1 week) - stating they liked the quality of my submission and that they wanted to see more!
I sent off my entire manuscript and thought.... HELP!

While I was waiting - I received another reply from the second publishers stating they also liked what they saw, and that my submission was being passed to a chief editor to look over.

In the meantime, the original publisher who asked for my full manuscript liked what they saw - and offered me a contract! (THANK YOU RUBY LIONESS PRESS)...
True to my word, I had to contact the second publisher and thank them for their kind assistance, and notified them I had been offered a contact elesewhere.

After I signed my contract, I even had a reply from someone who I had written to over 6 months previously and forgot about. Guess what? They liked my work!... what?
Needless to say - I contacted anyone I had ever written to very quickly to ensure they knew I was no longer available.

So, I'd managed to secure a strong contract with an expanding publishing house, having experienced publishing staff, quality experienced editors and a number of well established authors already contracted to them.

If I may offer my 'inexperienced' advice?

Look for publishing houses like these! They are there and, as I have found, the smaller houses are much friendlier, more supportive and they are good for you.
My own publishers - Ruby Lioness Press - are like a family and have encouraged me to improve in amazing ways.

How? I'll tell you about that next time - AND - HOW it's helped improve my quality.
See you then.

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