Finding a Publisher

I received an e-mail from a writer who found my Web site in her search for a publisher. She wrote, “I am seeking a Publisher for my {genre} manuscript.  Can you tell me approximately how much it would cost, or do the Publishers pay you?”

Well, the answer is, “It depends …”

Whether you pay to have your book published or the publisher pays you depends on the kind of publisher you choose.

Traditional, royalty-paying publishers (sometimes called “New York publishers” because many are located in New York) do not charge you to publish your book; they pay you advances and royalties. Many people believe this is the only legitimate path to publishing. A common expression among writers is, “Writers don’t pay; they get paid.” You can learn more about this kind of publisher in a post I wrote for the Christian E-Author Blog on Writing and E-Book Publishing.

However, New York publishers are very selective in the books they publish; probably less than 10% of the manuscripts submitted to conventional publishers are accepted for publication. Many books are rejected because of poor writing, but others are rejected because they do not fit in standard genres or publishers think the market will be too small to be profitable. Conventional publishers can be large mega-corporations in New York or small, independent presses (who publish fewer titles with smaller print runs … and usually not as wide distribution).

Vanity or subsidy publishers require that the author pay for publishing. So-called “vanity” publishers charge high fees and provide few services but will publish any manuscript, often without editing or other services. Some subsidy publishers provide excellent quality services at reasonable prices for authors.

In self-publishing, the author takes on all the costs and responsibilities of publishing and earns all the rewards. This type of publishing may be a good idea for an author who has a platform to sell books – a speaker who can sell books at speeches, for example.

You can learn more about vanity, subsidy, and self-publishing in another CEA blog post.

Although writers often expect to have their books published by a royalty-paying publisher, authors have to decide for themselves if subsidy publishing or self-publishing is the right choice for them.

If so, they must be do their research to learn how to avoid being scammed by unscrupulous people who simply want their money.

I’ll write more about finding a publisher in the future, but perhaps the way to learn about the publishing industry is to network with other writers, either in a local writers group or online at one of these writing sites.

[tags]writing, publishing, vanity publisher, self-publishing[/tags]

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