|Posted by rmarsden on October 3, 2010 at 2:29 PM|
Submitting a manuscript is a fairly easy process. It usually starts with a cover letter, progresses to a synopis, sample-chapters and eventually a full manuscript. This can be done online or through traditional mail.
For all the big publishing houses look up their websites and they'll have information on how to submit without an agent. TOR books is a good one for the sci-fi crowd.
For smaller publishing houses I use Duotrope. However, be careful. Some of the publishers listed offer fairly bad contracts. While using a smaller publishing house means less pay, it doesn't mean no pay!
Self publishing needs nothing more than a printing press and you to follow their format guides.
The 'best' source is the Writer's Market book that comes out every year. The book has markets, editors, publishers, and all the information an author could want. The book costs around $30.00 as of 2010.
To ensure the publishing house won't cause an author serious issues, Editors and Preditors is a great website resource. Many publishing houses are listed as well as if they are on the up and up. Vanity presses, presses that don't pay their authors, presses that accept a manuscript then ask the author for money for copies, editing, and other services are noted.
The author should PAY NOTHING because they are providing the labor. Publishers who don't offer free editing, copying etc. are not playing by the industry standard rules.
Examples of Scam-like Behavior-
1. The publisher doesn't provide an editor but has a list of affordable editors they work with. This just means they are tricking the author into paying money to those they have a relationship with.
2. The publisher doesn't provide a cover-artist but has a list of affordable artists. Same as above.
3. The publisher needs X number of copies of a manuscript that the author has to provide or for a fee the publisher will do so. This should not be a cost of the author! It's the publisher's problem if the one copy isn't enough.
4. The publisher needs money for marketing. The author should not pay the publisher any money to market their work, nor should they pay marketing services recommended by the publisher.
Examples of Justified Fees
Smaller publishing houses don't have big budgets. They will offer editing, art, etc. but can't offer professional services. If an author wants 'top' quality they may have to cover the costs.
1. After the author has seen a final-proof of their work and approved it asks for any additional changes may result in a free. Once the publisher sends the work of to the formatter it can cost them quite a bit to make changes. In this case the author gets to see the final-proof and it is their fault if they OK it, then later change their minds.
2. The publishing house doesn't have resources to hire expensive artists. The smaller houses might only have $100 to offer an artist. They may have a list of artists they've worked for before within their budget. If the author wants a different artist they may share/pay for the costs that exceed the publisher's budget.
3. The publishing house doesn't have resources to hire expensive editors. One publisher I'm working with only has $100 to pay their editors for a full project. A professional editor would cost $25-40 and hour and the average novel would cost several thousand dollars to have edited.
4. The publishing house has limited means to market. They WILL market as best they can but encourage the author to help any way possible. Again, the publishing house isn't out to charge the author anything in this case, but the author may need to pay money to help advertise their work. If the publishing house wants money to help advertise it is wrong! Authors shouldn't pay a publisher to market their work, but it is ok to pay an outside service (unconnected to the publisher) to augment existing marketing.
1. Use the internet, Duotrope, Preditors and Editors, and the Writer's Market book to find places to submit to. Follow their instructions on what to submit. Be sure to look not just for publishers, but also agents!
2. Authors should pay the publisher and friends of the publisher NOTHING.
3. Authors can pay for 'extra' services (higher quality), but none of this money should be going to the publisher or their friends. With larger publishing houses this shouldn't be an issue, but smaller house don't have the budget to offer 'the best' work consistantly. Look at small-presses and their cover-art for examples of how good and bad it can get.
Categories: Novel Advice