Thursday, February 7, 2013

What to Look for in a Publisher Guest Blog by Charity Bradford, Author of The Magic Wakes

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What to Look for in a Publisher

The publishing world has changed since I began my writing journey. In the beginning traditional publishing was still the most accepted and most validating choice. But now days it’s just as acceptable to self publish or go with a small to mid-sized publisher.

I won’t go into the many reasons why this might have changed, but suffice it to say, an author has many choices when it comes to getting published. Before looking at publishers, I suggest you do the following.

1. Decide why you write. Is it because you want to be the next J.K. Rowling and make millions from books, merchandise, and movie sales? If so, self publishing and smaller publishers are not going to do this for you (yes there are exceptions, but generally this is true). Or do you write because the story burning within you just has to be told? Do you care about the money, or just sharing the story with others?

2. Decide who your target audience is. (Hopefully you did this before writing the book) Some publishers specialize in specific genres. They’ll know how to market your book so the people you’re writing for can find it. It’s always better to have a team of like minded people helping you through the process. When they “get” you, your progress will run smoother and be more enjoyable for everyone.

3. Decide how much control you want in the process. If doing everything terrifies you, then self publishing is NOT for you. If you’re a control freak that must make all the decisions then going with an agent and Big Six Publisher may be traumatic for you. In the middle are all kinds of publishers with varying degrees of control. A little research will help you find the right fit for your personality and needs.

Once you know these things about yourself, you’ll be able to make better choices as you look at publishers. Now, where do you start looking for a publisher? For simplification purposes we are going to assume that if you want to publish with a Big 6 (Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, Random House, Macmillan, The Penguin Group, Hachette—and all the smaller imprints they own: Little Brown, Knopf, Viking, NAL, Pocket, Scribner, St. Martins, Dutton, Avon, William Morrow, Crown, Tor, Zondervan, Grand Central, Dell, etc.) that you are looking for an agent—which is a different post. ;)

But if you’ve decided that a smaller publisher is the choice for you, where do you look?

1. The blogosphere is full of authors testing the publishing waters. Talk to them about their experience and check out submissions pages for the genres they publish. This is by far the best and safest place to start. If you don’t know someone who has published with a company you are looking at, find one of their authors and email them. (I’ve already had someone contact me with questions about WiDo) Most people are more than willing to share their experience and thoughts with you.

2. You can also do a Google search and all kind of publishers will come up. This is a bit scary to me, but sometimes that’s where you have to start. Here are some websites that can help you decide if they are legit or not:


Talia has a secret, one that will save her world and yet rip it apart. Only she can decide if the price is worth it.
Scientist Talia Zaryn has always had visions of an alien invasion and of her own death. She’s kept it a secret, hoping they are nothing more than childish nightmares. But when her face in the mirror matches that of her dreams, she fears the dreams are prophetic. Talia must prove that life exists beyond their planet, Sendek; perhaps then people will prepare to fight.
Talia’s work at the Space Exploration Foundation leaves no time for personal relationships, but Major Landry Sutton isn’t looking for a friend. He’s looking for a traitor. His ability to sense emotions convinces him Talia is that traitor until a touch sizzles between them. In an instant their minds are connected and they can communicate telepathically. Just as the two begin to trust each other, the invading force arrives.
Author photoTalia and Landry must uncover the secrets of Sendek’s past if they hope to defeat these terrifying creatures. And Talia is the key—if only she can learn to trust the magic coursing through her veins.
Author Bio

Charity Bradford has been a voracious reader ever since her 5th grade teacher introduced her to the world of books with Where the Red Fern Grows and Summer of the Monkeys. She’s the mother of four kids that keep her on her toes, constantly reminding her that imagination still makes the world go round. She lives in Arkansas with her hubby and children, and firmly believes that a smile can solve most problems. The Magic Wakes is her first novel.

1st Chapter—


Charity Bradford said...

Thanks for having me today Nicole!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations, Charity!
Yes, there are a lot of small publishers out there and many authors you can ask for help or references.

Rena said...

This is some excellent advice on publishers. There are so many options for authors these days it's just incredible.

Charity Bradford said...

@Alex you are so right! The blogging community is full of authors who are more than willing to share information. It's been invaluable to me in my journey.

@Rena isn't it wonderful to have lots of good choices? I love it!

Angela Brown said...

Charity, this is an AWESOME post. Great information on the differences that exist with traditional publishing and self-publishing and adding light to the many choices in between.

Thanks for the information. Though I self-pubbed with Neverlove, I may have other projects where I may consider a different route.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I would also say to figure out if whether they are a sole proprietorship or an LLC. An LLC has bankruptcy protection for authors who sign on. A sole proprietorship does not. You sign on with one of those and they go bankrupt because they mismanage money...then the bank will own the rights to your book. And that just sucks.

Beth said...

Great advice.

Charity Bradford said...

@Angela it's worth a look. It's been really nice having extra help with all of this. And...

@Michael, great advice!

@Beth, hey!

Huntress said...

Fantastic advice. Love hearing about your journey, Charity!
CD Coffelt prowls at Spirit Called

Charity Bradford said...

@Huntress *hugs* Thanks for being a part of it.