Electronic publishing may be the wave of the future of books. Its invention has opened many new doors for the aspiring writer. But with this new addition to the literature industry has also come many new publishing companies. Do a search of the World Wide Web for e-book publishing companies, and the results are in the hundreds! Publishing companies don’t want just any author.
They’re looking for talent and the ability to tell a good story and keep the reader hooked. On the flip side, a writer doesn’t want just any publishing company. He/she wants one that will help advance his/her writing career and that is legitimate with a good reputation in the publishing industry. So how does the aspiring writer narrow down the list of possible publishers for his/her manuscript? Here are ten tips that may make your search a bit easier.
The first thing a writer should always look for when researching publishing companies is the type or types of books they publish. Do they publish fiction, non-fiction, or both? Do they specialize in only one type of fiction? For example, if you’ve written a mystery and you submit it to a company that only publishes romance fiction, then you’re wasting your time and theirs. Another way to determine if a company might be interested in your manuscript is to read some of the books they have already published.
How long has the company been in business and how well are they known?
This question can often be difficult to answer. One thing to look for is a paragraph or page on the publisher’s website telling about the company, its formation, and its staff. If you can’t find anything like this on the site, try writing to someone at the company. He/she will usually be more than happy to tell you more about the company. You can also perform a web search of the company’s name to find out how well known they are and sometimes find more facts about them.
Check for submission guidelines.
If your submission doesn’t fit a publisher’s guidelines or rules of submission, you might as well be sending your manuscript into cyberspace. Somewhere on the site of an electronic publishing company you will find a link to their submission guidelines. This page(s) will instruct you on what type of books they are currently looking for, how to send the manuscript to them (e.g., via e-mail attachment or snail mail), what to send to them (e.g., a synopsis and the first three chapters, the complete manuscript, etc.), and usually a lot more.
In what formats are the books from the company offered?
An e-book isn’t just an e-book. There are several different kinds of versions. Most electronic publishing companies offer the books they publish in HTML format, but some also offer them in PDF, PDB, and other formats specially designed for hand-held readers. The Rocket E-Book and Microsoft Reader are just two of the many hand-held readers available. The more versions of your book that are available, the better your chances are of reaching a larger audience.
Where are the e-books sold?
There are dozens of bookstores on the Internet that carry and sell e-books. Even well-known companies such as Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble have e-book divisions on their websites. While most electronic publishers have agreements with bookstores such as these to make their books available for sale, some publishers only sell the books they publish from their own website. The more places that a consumer comes into contact with your book, the better chance you have of selling many copies.
Does the publisher send your book out for reviews?
Reviews can play a large role in the promotion of a book. There are thousands of people and sites that review books, but some only accept books sent directly from the publisher.
How much promotion does the publisher do?
Keep in mind that the majority of this load falls on the author. The publisher has many other authors to represent as well as you. However, the publisher should also engage in a good share of promoting your work.
Does the publisher charge the author for anything?
In your search of the right publisher for your manuscript, you will most likely run across some companies that charge the author some sort of fee. Here’s a word of caution. Never pay anyone to read your book. Some companies also charge a publication fee. In most instances, this is considered to be vanity publishing. If you aren’t looking to self-publish your book, then you’re in the wrong place.
every author wants them, but does the company pay them? The average royalty percentage offered by electronic publishing companies is between twenty and fifty percent. The norm is between thirty and forty-five. E-books, unless sold on floppy disk or CD-Rom, do not require shipping and handling. They are sent via e-mail attachment to the purchaser for download. With all the new technology that has developed in the e-book industry, it isn’t difficult to make an e-book and there isn’t much overhead for the publisher. So why should you allow a publisher to take all the profits from your hard work?
you don’t have to be a lawyer to figure them out. Sample contracts can be found on the websites of most electronic publishers. The majority of the contracts offered by electronic publishing companies span from one to three years with the option of renewal upon agreement of both parties at the end of that time. By reading the contract, you will also learn what rights the publisher acquires upon publication, how often royalties are paid, and many other legal aspects that are important to the life of your work.
Please remember that sometimes it may take several tries before you find a publisher with whom you are happy, but don’t despair; be patient and persistent.