Who should submit directly to publishers?
Submitting directly to publishers may be a good choice for you if you have a quality product that beats to it's own drum. Smaller publishers are often more likely to take a risk on something new or different. Direct to publisher submissions are great for:
- Emerging genres like New Adult
- Genre blends or anything that is "hard to shelve"
- All things quirky, offbeat, and innovative
- Novels that appeal to niche markets
- LGBT & Multicultural
- Romance & erotica
- Anything of quality that never found a good agent match
- Anyone who has self-published or is considering self-publishing
In my experience, the search for a publisher was more complicated than the search for an agent. The available databases are not as reliable or complete. Not all publishers accept unagented submissions. And not all publishers may be right for your work. This may change as direct to publisher submissions become more common. Here are some places to find publishers:
|Sapphire Star Publishing|
Also, don't forget to try a good old-fashioned Google search. This is how I found my publisher, Curiosity Quills Press. I Googled "New Adult Publisher" and guess who I found? You may also try "publishers accepting unagented submissions" or a similar search to find lists created by other bloggers. Here are two such lists right here:
How do I know if they are good?
Before you query and certainly before you sign, you should research potential publishers.
First, make sure they're not scammers. You can make sure they're not rotten by looking for them on websites like this:
|Crescent Moon Press|
Writer Beware Blog
Absolute Write Water Cooler
Predators and Editors
If they are a traditional royalty paying publisher (meaning they pay you and never the other way around) and they don't have bad press all over the web, then they're probably at least not a scam. But of course, this is your baby we're talking about. You need to make sure they're right for you. Here are more steps you can take:
- Google search. Simple but effective.
- Talk to one of their authors. Authors are just like you and me (in fact they are exactly like you and me) and most will be happy to answer your questions. If you don't feel comfortable approaching one, stalk their authors' blogs and Facebook pages to make sure they are happy campers.
- Use advanced search on Amazon to search by publisher. It's a simple way to see their whole catalog. Make sure you like their covers and that your book would fit in their catalog.
If you're offered a contract and don't have an agent, you'll probably be really happy but also completely freaking out. Here are more steps to handle your inevitable freak out:
- Repeat the steps above. :)
- Talk to your friends who have publishing contracts and compare terms (if they're comfortable with this)
- Have a lawyer review the contract.
- Read How To Be Your Own Literary Agent: An Insider's Guide to Getting Your Book Published
- Take your time. A good publisher won't rush or pressure you.
- Ask questions. A good publisher will be happy to answer any questions you have. It also gives you a preview of how easy it is to work with them and get your questions answered.
- Follow your gut and do what feels right.
I've been through the process of signing with a publisher without an agent, so feel free to ask any questions in comments!