Wednesday, September 25, 2013

When Going Postal is a Good Thing

With today’s day and age and the wonderful world of email, many authors negate or just plain forget about sending postal submissions. Many of these places are just as good, if not better to send your work to. It really doesn’t cost that much to send out via snail mail every now and then. And it’s really fun when you get something other than bills in your regular mailbox, especially if it’s a response from a publisher!

Even though using email is faster and more convenient, this doesn’t mean publishers accepting only postal submissions are in the stone-age and should be counted out. It is just their way of handling their flow of submissions. Plus it’s also considered a filtering mechanism. Most writers are less likely to send every single manuscript they have this way. And writers who do send via postal mail are often more cautious about what they send, making sure their manuscripts better fit the publisher’s guidelines. This also minimizes unwanted manuscripts.

I want to remind everyone that this list is geared towards children’s and young adult authors and are advance paying publishers, unless stated otherwise.

So here’s a list of publishers that accept postal submissions to get you started.

Peachtree Publishers: From picture book to YA submissions. Watch out for the special note on genres.

Dial Books for Young Readers: A YA imprint of Penguin. Responds only if interested.

Tor Books: Part of Macmillan. Chapter books, middle grade, YA. Genres: Science fiction and Fantasy

Holiday House: Early picture books to YA. Only responds if interested.

Seven Stories Press: New YA imprint Triangle Square. Political and social issues (fiction/non-fiction)

Big Mouth House: An imprint of Small Beer Press. Publishes for readers 10 and up. Also accepts short story collections.

Again, this is list is just to get you started, but there are plenty of other places out there to look into. Even though it might be a little more out of the way to send, it’s worth looking into. Remember to read all the guidelines and follow them closely. Good luck and have fun with it!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pros and Cons to Agents and Publishers

There's more than one way to getting published. Agents are one avenue. But not the only avenue. With more and more smaller publishers getting bigger, and big publishers opening the doors to unagented submissions, or just plain self-publishing, it all just depends on what road you'd like to take. I just don't want writers to give up at that point after the agent search has ended. That's not the end of your book. And that shouldn't be the end of your dream either. There's more options out there. Doing as much research as possible for your book, is key.

UNLESS the agent is very reputable and has great contacts and is truly willing to help you get your book out there, I would suggest you tread carefully on who you sign with. You’re wasting your time if you go with a less-than-perfect agent. An agent that hasn’t gotten any solid sales from major publishers, or an agent that shops your book around to places you can submit to yourself? What’s the point?

There are many things an agent can help you with, such as editing, marketing, helping you get a better deal of course, but not all agents are created equal. It's best to do your research before you sign. And don't hesitate to ask questions too. You don't want a mediocre agent that only submits your book to a handful of places and then says to you, we’re going to scale down now and submit to smaller publishers. Why? When you know in your heart there’s several other places your agent can submit to? Clearly an agent like that doesn’t have enough contacts.

And for those authors that find themselves an offer from a publisher that think you need an agent for, not necessarily so on that either. You can just as easily have a literary lawyer look at it for a one time flat fee, rather than paying the agent 15% off the advance and 15% off of all your royalties on the book. If you do this the wrong way, you may get burned. Especially if your money streams out of the agency first. And to think when you got the deal in the first place? No, sorry. It just doesn’t make any sense.

Some authors are more successful self-publishing their books then the authors with agents AND publishers. Most of the time because the agent placed it with some small publisher. And believe me, there are agents out there that leech off authors like that. Continually placing their authors with these tiny publishers and never getting a better deal for them is darn right stealing from an author. If you want to get published the right way, you'll need to be aware of such things. The whole reason behind even getting an agent is so that agent can get you into places that you couldn’t normally get into yourself.

There’s good agents and there’s bad agents. Just as there’s good publishers and bad publishers. Could you see if you got a bad agent and a bad publisher? IF you’re not savvy enough to know what’s going on in the publishing industry, it could happen to you. The best thing to do for your book is research the shit out of who you are sending it to. With all those internet scammers out there, if you’re not fully aware of what’s going on, they could get to you. And believe me, having a bad agent is worse than not having an agent at all. And having a bad publisher is a complete disaster. Warning signs for that are things like poor communication, poor editing on other books of theirs. Not good with distribution. Poor marketing. I could go on and on.

I'm not suggesting all agents are bad, or all (not so well known) publishers are bad. I just want writers to know they have options. Actually quite a few. Even if you get rejected by what you think every agent and publisher out there, there's another around the corner. New publishers opening, old publishers expanding. Same goes for agents too. The Guide to Literary Agents is a good resource in finding new agents too.

Just know there are other options out there just waiting to be explored. Whatever you decide to do, rule number one: Never give up on your publishing dream. If you feel as though you need to trunk a novel, write a new one and begin the process again.

Unless you’re just writing for leisure purposes, don’t give up on your dream of getting published. Keep open to that possibility always and try to keep your submissions active for as long as possible. Keep at it. Just as a side note about vanity publishers, since I haven't covered them. Stay away. Any publisher asking or money from you is a crime. Don't equate it to self-publishing either. It's not the same thing, not in the least. With self-publishing, you have full control and places that give you much better royalty rates. Bottom line, keep options open. Do your homework and search, and research again. With determination and information, you can get there too!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Big Publishers Accepting Unagented YA Submissions

If the agent route isn’t working for you, and you’re a young adult writer looking for a place to submit then the list below is definitely worth checking out. All these publishers pay advances, unless stated otherwise. Even though this list is geared towards YA fiction writers, some of these places also take adult fiction as well as non-fiction, so again, it’s worth looking into. And all accept U.S. author submissions too.

Hachette Australia: Accepts email submissions on a regular basis. Will respond within three weeks if they are interested. I think that’s an excellent turn around.

Harper Collins Australia: Accepts submissions every Wednesday. Be sure to check their guidelines. Remember the time difference. So say for example, there’s a 15 hour time difference (if I did my math right) for U.S. authors, so if you submit at 9:30am (thinking it would be okay) it would be 12:30pm in Australia and you wouldn’t be able to submit. If you don’t see the “Wednesday Post” button to click on, that’s a clear indication you won’t be able to submit.

Allen and Unwin: Accepts submission every Friday during “The Friday Pitch.” Please make sure to read their guidelines. There’s a special form you need to fill out and copy paste it into your email submission.

Ben Bella: Accepting submissions on a regular basis. Openly states the advances are between 5K and 10K and may be higher if they really want the ms.

Beyond Words: They are in partnership with Atria an imprint of Simon & Schuster . They are into mind, body and spirit and will accept fiction also.

Witness Impulse: This is another imprint of Harper Collins, that even though I’m not sure if they take YA submissions, they are looking for mystery/suspense/thrillers. Even though they don’t pay advances, their royalty rates are high and they pay it monthly which is a perk.

So there it is. More places to submit to without having to have an agent for. BUT, if you do get an offer from one of these places, it would be wise to get a professional to look at your contract. Often times, you can submit to an agent, with your offer and they’d be willing to help, whether they want in on the deal or kindly help without getting involved. And yes, it does happen.

Good luck everyone! And whatever you do, never give up! I truly believe if you strive hard enough to do your research and continue to look (because new ones pop up all the time) you will find a home for your baby.