Every so often word of a publisher going under hits the blogosphere, and authors wonder when, if and where it happen next. Some publishers go quietly. Some go with large implosions that seem to last for weeks and spew much vitriol across the internet. No matter how it happens it sucks for the authors, and those of us who have seen it happen or been through it feel for them.
Yet authors can protect themselves, and I am still surprised that some choose not to. Of course, no matter how diligent the research things can happen. Nothing is a perfect safeguard. Yet, a bit of legwork before the submissions process can save a lot of stress down the road.
The first step in researching publishers should always be checking sites like Absolute Write, Preditors and Editors, HiPiers (Piers Anthony’s site), EREC, and other watchdogs. Because it is possible for false reports to be filed, each step in the research process should be taken in conjunction with the others. This means if one site shows a problem, but everything else checks out, and the problem appears to be isolated, an author may choose to go forward. For some authors, even one report is one too many, and I confess that I fall into that camp as well.
Next a targeted web search should be completed. Researching the publisher’s name is one thing; however, the smart author is looking for specific items. Looking for the publisher’s name in quotes plus the word problems or issues will showcase those specific blogs or articles.
Additional credence needs to be given to those mentions in high visibility places like Publisher’s Weekly, Locus, Dear Author, or other large industry blogs or magazines. Again, a single author’s problem may be something very specific to that publisher-author relationship or it may herald a bigger issue. Sometimes it is difficult to tell and authors will need to use their own judgment.
Asking for references, reading books, and even a perusal of the publisher’s website and social media platforms are all great next steps to take.
Why am I saying that authors should do this for their sanity?
Because let’s face it, many of us put a lot of time into our books. We write our first drafts, edit, polish, and tweak some more before we send the book off to a publisher. We’re signing contracts for as few as a couple of years or as many as seven. That’s a long time to be stuck in a bad relationship. And no, it doesn’t have to be a bad relationship; that’s why authors need to research publishers. A bit more forethought and a slower rush to get published will help save authors from a lot of difficulties and give them a solid foundation upon which to build their careers.
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If you’re interested in learning more, join Mary starting August 20, 2014 for Smart Publisher Evaluation for Career-Minded Authors. This week-long course will dive deep into the art of evaluating publishers so authors can avoid trouble, find the best fit for them, and know that they, and their work, will be supported.
Learn more and register here: http://musecharmer.com/musestore/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=75&products_id=212
Mary lives in the Ozarks with her husband, three spoiled horses, an office rabbit, an opinionated parrot, a not-so-itty-bitty kitty committee, and a charmed chicken (rooster).
She’s been published since 2002, working for some of the biggest and best digital-first publishers. Three years ago, she began The Muse Charmer to share her insights from being in the publishing industry for so long with authors.
Her belief: it can be easy to be an author today. To that end, she offers classes, news, and information authors can use to navigate today’s ever-changing publishing industry.
Visit her website at www.musecharmer.com to get her free video presentation Tap Into Your Muse Power to learn exactly how an author’s muse is the most important tool for today’s working author.
Daily Writing Inspiration: http://www.dailywritinginspiration.com
Circle of Muses: http://www.circleofmuses.com
Muse Camp: http://www.musecamp.com