April 1, 2011


While my blog site lists reliable resources for beginning writers looking for advice about agents and publishing houses, sometimes these sources dole out some pretty stodgy information. So, given the perversity of my nature, I’m providing information below which goes against the common wisdom but believe me, it’s no joke. 

(courtesy: BingImages)

1. When looking for a publisher, don’t follow that old saw about looking in books stores for publications similar to yours. Why? Mainstream market publishers (the big six) and their subsidiaries are closed to writers who don’t have an agent. Your best bet for the main stream press is to look for an agent, not a publisher. 

2. When looking for a small press, don’t turn your nose up at print on demand publishers (POD) (see blog 3/21/11). Don’t snub electronic print companies either.   Some of them pay well. What’s more the number of readers who buy electronic books is a fast- growing market. You’ll know you have a legitimate company to work with if it pays you a good percentage on the sales and charges nothing for any services including cover design, editing etc. Also, look for companies that don’t put a floor on the number of books that must be sold before you see any money. The average sale on small press books is less than 100. If the floor is 100 sales before you begin to see royalties, you’ll probably never receive any money. And never give up your copyright.     

3. The best way to find lists of publishers is at your library and not in a bookstore.  Librarians, bless ‘em, are longing to help, ready to help, and willing to help. Don’t rush out to buy a book of lists unless you’re pretty sure it has lot of vital information. Such books are expensive, even in paperback, and by the time those lists reach print much of the information is dated. Small publishers die like flies.  Agents die even faster. 

And remember, there are sharks in the publishing world like everywhere else. I repeat, unless you mean to self-publish, if anyone comes to you with his hands out, I don’t care how much flattery he throws at your book, RUN