The publishing industry is evolving every day. Traditional publishing houses have had to adapt to keep pace with changing times and remain competitive yet profitable entities. As the landscape continues to change with digital technology, new paths are opening up for authors, including self-publishing or crowdfunding publishing costs. With so much at stake in the race for readers, authors must ensure their work is appealing to publishers.
So how do you decide which traditional publishing house is the right one for your manuscript? Here are a few tips to help you on your way.
How To Pick The Right Publisher
When choosing a publishing house, forget about your specific genre for a minute and concentrate on the bigger picture. Think about what’s important to you as an author. What do you need to market your work? Which publishers are offering the best terms right now? What are their plans for promoting your book? Once you have the basics down, there are other considerations to consider before signing with any publisher. Some of them are listed below:
1. Research Publisher Reputations
It is best to research while you are writing your manuscript so that if and when an agent or publisher requests it, you can send them requested chapters along with a thorough summary of the entire plot. If you wait until after you have already shopped your manuscript around, any interested parties may not know what to think once they learn more about the plot itself via the summary. Hence, it would be good to look for publishers accepting submissions before finishing your full manuscript. To separate the reputable publishers from the disreputable ones, an excellent place to start is by looking at their catalogs. How a publisher promotes itself and what books have they published in the past. This information can help you determine which publishing houses will be most appropriate for your work.
2. Define Your Goal
Before we discuss publishers and literary agents, you need to know why you are seeking a publisher in the first place. Is it for prestige? Do you want to share your story with as many people as possible? Are you looking for support when it comes to editing, marketing, or distribution of your book? And who is going to read this manuscript anyway? If your goal is prestige, then a prestigious publishing house may be the way to go. If it is simply about getting your story out globally, then smaller publishing houses that cater more towards niche markets may be appropriate. A reputable literary agent can help guide authors toward larger and smaller publishing houses depending on their needs. For instance, an agent may recommend to his client that they avoid smaller, less reputable publishing houses due to the perceived lack of credibility their brand will bring to an author’s work.
3. Determine How They Publish Before Sending Your Manuscript Out
Have you ever seen books titled with the different publishing houses that published them? Have you ever noticed how each publisher may use a little logo of their own? For instance, some publishers use an elephant followed by a colon to signify that they worked on the book together. So before you submit your memoir to these publishing companies, you must realize that one likely printed the text while the other will be more concerned with designing your book cover. Research their process thoroughly before making assumptions about what one can expect after submitting a manuscript for publication or marketing purposes.
4. Find Out About Their Editing Process
All published authors need editors, no matter how strong their story is, to begin with. If you are considering signing with any publishing house, then make sure to ask them about what kind of editing process takes place after your manuscript has been submitted. Different publishing houses have different editing processes. Some will only edit what you send them, while others expect authors to pay for a portion of the editing process unless they score an impressive contract that includes a decent advance. It is always good to be prepared. The key is to find out as much as possible about what you can expect after submitting your manuscript before submitting it at all. If you are short on time, consider hiring your editor (usually found through Google) to work with you throughout the writing process and proofread anything that gets submitted along with your manuscript itself.
5. Make Sure They Can Market Your Book
This is a crucial point to any publishing deal. If they publish your book, expect them to market it as much as possible. That means you need to connect it to widely known genres and do everything you can do on your end to promote the book personally before considering self-publishing instead. Self-publishing has become a prevalent option for authors who several literary agents or publishing houses may have turned down. While this is not a guarantee of finding success, more and more authors are becoming savvy about marketing their books directly through online forums such as Facebook and Twitter. Even some new companies have popped up within the last few years, which enable authors themselves to design their covers and even format their books for print.
6. Stay Updated on the Going Rate for Book Deals
Publishing houses work with authors to establish book deals that will meet both parties’ needs and keep everyone content about the result. Some publishing houses pay royalties upfront while others do not, but this may be negotiable depending upon what someone’s budget looks like for purchasing books and hiring an editor or marketing team before publishing even begins. If you plan to submit your manuscript often, stay updated on the going rate. This will help if your situation changes and you can afford higher royalties through one publisher than another, then it is worth considering whether or not submitting there would be a good idea.
As you can see, traditional publishing is not the only option anymore, and rightly so. If you have a quality book to share with the world, then consider all your options before deciding whether or not you need an agent and publisher to make it happen. Get your story together and get it out in front of as many people as possible. Now that you know how to do it effectively, don’t wait any longer.