Are these some of the questions you are asking?
How many words should my manuscript be?
Do publishers accept submissions all year round or just during certain months?
How long does it take to get a response from a publisher?
Do publishers pay advances—how much?
What percentage royalties to publishers pay?
Do publishers produce both fiction and nonfiction?
What sort of promotion does a publisher do?
What’s the best way to approach a publisher—can I send the completed manuscript?
How many books does a publisher produce in a year?
Do these represent some of the questions you have? I often get these very questions from hopeful authors because some people still believe that a publishers, is a publishers, is a publishers. Not so.
Publishers come in all flavors, sizes and styles. This is why it is imperative that, when an author decides which publisher(s) he or she wants to approach, he or she obtains a copy of each publishers’ SUBMISSION GUIDELINES or WRITERS’ GUIDELINES or AUTHORS’ GUIDELINES.
Don’t rely on the information in the listings you find for these publishers in various databases. Sure, this is an excellent place to start when you are contemplating which publishing house is appropriate for your project. But before you contact a publisher (or several publishers), go to their websites and locate a copy of their Submission Guidelines. Then study them and submit to each publisher accordingly. If you don’t easily find Submission Guidelines, check under “About Us” or “Contact Us.” Perhaps you’ll see a link titled “Write for Us” or simply “Submissions.” Use your imagination in locating these guidelines. In some cases, you’ll need it. If you can’t find them, contact the editor and ask for a copy.
Perhaps you have completed your manuscript and it encompasses 150,000 words. One publisher’s Submission Guidelines, however, states that they publish books of from 75,000 to 100,000 words. If you want to go with this publisher, be prepared to cut your manuscript down to size. Tell this publisher, for example, that you will present to him a manuscript of around 85,000 words. Don’t apologize for the fact that your book includes 150,000 words and ask if he will look at it anyway.
Likewise if the publisher’s guidelines note that they are accepting only fantasy and thriller manuscripts at this time, don’t send a query letter for your book on raising guinea pigs and hamsters.
And if the publisher asks for an overview or a detailed prospectus related to your platform, make sure you provide plenty of honest information in this regard.
The competition is just too stiff today. There are too many other authors out there with great projects that are ready to go and with built-in followings and marketing skills. Publishers strive to choose projects that will make them some money. Part of that equation is—projects they are familiar with and have the connections to promote successfully. The other part is you—your connections, expertise, skills, abilities and willingness to present an appropriate project and vow to aptly promote it.
If you have questions about your publishing options, how to choose the best option for your particular project, how to choose the best publishing company within that option, how to work with a publisher and what exactly is expected of you as the author of a published book, read my book, Publish Your Book, Proven Strategies and Resources for the Enterprising Author. It’s available at amazon.com in print and Kindle form and at most other online and downtown bookstores. You can also purchase this book at http://www.matilijapress.com