Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Picking An Epublisher, Part 2 of 2, MARKETS

Another way to check out epublishers is to see if the publisher's books are available in a wide range of formats and at other sites besides their website. Without exception, my ebooks sell worst at the publisher's site than anywhere else because readers prefer the one-stop shopping of places like Fictionwise and eReader.

Go to the main venues like Fictionwise and eReader and see who is selling the most books in your genre. (The lists can be arranged in best-selling order.)

Go to publisher sites and read their guidelines and their posted contract. Compare the contract to EPIC's model contract. (http://www.epicauthors.com/) Also, look at EPIC's "Red Flags" article. Links to both can be found under "Helpful Items" on the left side of the site.

Read a number of the publisher's books, or at least, the posted promotional chapters. Are there grammatical and spelling errors? Are the books bad? If so, find another publisher.

Also, look at their covers. Would you want a cover like that? Do the covers fit the genre of the book?

Once you get a few possibilities, ask about them on listservs where authors congregate. Most of us will warn you away from the crooked and inept publishers. Also, check them out at Preditors and Editors. http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors

You'll soon discover that the biggest epublishers with the best reputations are closed to submissions most all the time. Their stable of writers can produce more than enough books for them without dealing with the slush pile.

But there are new publishers who are more than eager for good material. Unfortunately, they usually don't have a track record so you really don't know what you're getting in to.

All this research won't guarantee a safe passage through the stormy waters of publishing, I've had a few disastrous publishers who have lost distribution after I've signed with them or who have proven to be inept, but publishing is like life. Sh*t can happen despite whatever we do.


Eldheni said...

Well done article (both parts) on the vagaries of epublishing. I hope you will also cover traditional publishing?

Anonymous said...

Very valuable information. Thanks for helping save fellow writers' butts, Marilynn!

Marilynn Byerly said...

Thank you both for the comments. We writers are bunnies in a publishing forest full of wolves, and smart bunnies stick together.

I covered traditional publishing to a certain extent in my summary of types of publishing, but I will cover various dangerous and annoying aspects of traditional publishing from time to time.

With big business and much more money involved, traditional publishing is considerably more complex than epublishing.