My good friend, Ellen, wrote a wonderful novel. It’s full of history, suspense, and romance. She spent years researching and writing. The characters are fully developed and you won’t find one single plot hole.
And now, it’s time to find a publisher.
Ellen had already decided to go with a smaller, independent press. She liked the idea of the personal attention she hoped to receive from a small organization. She sent out a few feelers, and was thrilled when she received several positive replies.
Ellen was tempted to sign with the first publisher that was interested.
Hold the phone! When it comes to choosing a publisher for your amazing novel, self-help book, or memoir, you need to do a little research to find the publisher who is right for you.
The more I work with authors, the more I learn about what works and what doesn’t. I recommend asking these questions when you’re deciding, and any others that you can think of. You need to find the best fit for YOU.
- References – It’s okay to ask to speak with other authors that work with the publisher. I do this all the time for new authors who might want to publish with me. I’m not part of the conversation, of course, so the conversation will be completely honest and open.
- Communication – You want to know that if you have a question, the publisher will answer it in a timely manner, right? Do they have certain days of the week when they aren’t working, and won’t answer an email or a text? There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but you need to know what to expect. When I’m working with an author and we’re about three or four months out from the launch date, I schedule a weekly call to make sure that we’re both doing everything that needs to be done. This is incredibly helpful, and takes the guesswork out of the process.
- Timeline – Ask the publisher for a timeline. There’s a lot that goes into publishing and marketing a book, so you really need to know what to expect. When will the cover be ready? When will the Advance Reader Copy (ARC) be ready for your support team? When will the book be available for pre-order?
- Cover – In my opinion, the cover needs to be created early in the process. Everything else hinges on the cover, such as setting up the pre-order, ARCs, and early marketing efforts. You also want to make sure that the publisher will work with you and let you have some input when it comes to the cover.
- Author Copies – Ask if author copies will be available to you, and what your cost will be. This will depend on the royalty agreement you have, but your publisher should be able to provide you with copies of your book.
Not all publishers work the same way. You have every right to ask questions, and make sure that you’re working with someone who is the best fit for YOU.