Sunday, November 13, 2011

Run, Do Not Walk! (Part 1 of 2)

The old saying, "There's a sucker born every minute," is an old one and is often spoke in various forms. No one wants to be considered a 'sucker', and we're tempted to say (when reading of a scam), "Oh, that wouldn't/couldn't happen to me." Maybe and maybe not. We are all human, and sometimes we let our feelings get in the way of our common sense. So--my fellow writers and authors--published and unpublished alike--be aware--very aware--there is always someone out there who will make your dreams come true for a price.

 I consider myself blessed to have 'fallen in' with a wonderful small press some four years ago when I decided to get serious about writing and publishing. The Wild Rose Press is an author's dream. Yes, my first submission was rejected, but three subsequent manuscripts saw print, and I have a fourth coming out next year. It is a professional relationship with the added perk of feeling totally at home and safe with the staff and my fellow authors. I may get more rejections from them somewhere down the line--but that will not change my feelings about how fortunate I am to be 'a rose'.

But I digress. In this two-part blog, I want to discuss how even small presses need to be vetted by savvy authors. Here are some things to consider:

  • Exposure, availability, sales
  • stability/longevity
  • competence
  • veracity
  • advances
  • fees
  • complaints
  • credentials of staff
  • website
  • backlist
  • printing technology
  • print returns from bookstores
  • professional production and editing
  • pricing
  • options for distribution
  • marketing
  • communication
Most small presses do not pay advances. If an advance is a must for you, you'll move on. Many small presses are newer to the publishing world. A new press may be right for you if you're willing to share its growing pains. The request for payment FROM the author is, of course, a no-no. If you want to shell out, there are plenty of vanity presses around to take your money. But for everyone, the contract is of prime importance. Read it carefully. Get professional legal advice if you have any questions. But never just sign and return and consider it a done deal. 

For more, go here (and I'd recommend it!) and put a shortcut to this site on your desktop.

Later this week I'll be blogging about pay-to-publish operations and why one may (or may NOT) be good for you.


Mary Ricksen said...

The press you choose can mean all the difference in the world! Good luck with your continuing successful career!

Judy said...

Thanks for dropping by, Mary, and for your words of encouragement. The right press certainly is 99.9% of the whole thing!

Lynne Marshall said...

I'm glad I found the Wild Rose Press, too, Judy. Especially since they have the Last Rose of Summer line - and i love more mature characters in a story from time to time.

I have experience being an author for an e-publisher who has gone bankrupdt. It is a horrible experience, and it took almost a year to get my rights back for my book. I wouldn't wish that on anyone, especially a new author!

Judy said...

Thanks for weighing in, Lynne. I suppose publishing is fraught with risk in many respects, but not being about to get the rights back to one's book sounds like a nightmare!