If you ask most writers which publisher they’d like a contract with, they’ll probably tell you one of the big five.
They’ll do the best job, right?
Yes… and no.
A few weeks ago, I attended the KidLitVic conference where a panel with Jane Pearson (Text Publishing), Suzanne O’Sullivan (Hachette Australia and Lothian Children’s Books), and Miriam Rosenbloom (Scribble) talked about publishers—from the big to the small.
This included the revelation that big publishers aren’t always the best option for you and your manuscript.
No, this wasn’t some ploy to get writers to try submitting elsewhere. It was sound advice that the ideal place for your book is with the publishing house that wants to make it the best it can be.
Other surprising insider tips were that a big publisher doesn’t necessarily have a big budget for a book and that awards don’t always lead to sales (it also costs publishers a lot of money to submit books to awards).
To make working with a publisher easier, they suggested aiming to sign with one in the country where you live. I personally tried that for three years before my YA series, Blackbirch, was snapped up by a small press in the US, so I took that advice with a grain of salt.
Also turned into the saltiest of grains was a tip about only setting your book where you live because you can’t authentically write about places you haven’t been to and will, therefore, get it wrong (I’m sure there are other authors who will agree to disagree on that one too).
As for the submission process, it involves a lot more people than you probably think.
After the person you’ve sent your MS to has read it and fallen in love, they need to make others love it too. Marketers, editors and a team of people are required to give it the okay at an acquisitions meeting before even more people say yes and costing is done (estimated sales versus the cost of producing the book).
If that all checks out, you’ll get one of those fabled return emails (or a phone call) making you an offer. Eventually, a print run is determined based on how well your publisher sells the book to booksellers and a crystal ball (not a real one, but you get the idea), and your book is sent out into the world!
There are of course more steps after that, and plenty in between, but the biggest takeaway when it comes to finding a publisher is the only thing that matters is how passionate they are about your book.
This was the final blog from everything I learned at my first writers conference. I hope you’ve found the info just as helpful as I did. In case you missed them, the other blogs can be found at the following links:
- Preparing For A Writers Conference: What To Take
- Notes From A Writers Conference
- 6 Reasons Why A Publisher Says Yes And 6 Reasons They Say No
- Why You Should Have An Agent And How To Get One
— K.M. Allan