Choosing the Right Publisher, Conclusion!

This is now Part III—the last of the postings devoted to choosing a publisher.

Let’s take a moment to recap where we are: you have several publishing offers and have now completed your meetings with all prospective suitors. You have met with editors, marketing people, publicity-types, in some cases, you have met with a few of the presidents of the publishing imprint (that’s one way to know the publisher is taking your project very seriously).  

I suggest that you keep something of a diary of your meetings. You need to know—and keep track of— the following questions:

* Which publisher had a vision for the book that most closely resembled your own? That’s key. You want to be sure—first and foremost—that you and the publisher are on the same page.   

* Which editor did you click with the most? Which did you feel would devote the most vision, time, energy, and hours to your book? (hopefully, they are the same person).  

* Which publicist/marketing manager did you think would do the most for your book? Which publisher is committing to an extensive bound galley mailing and would leave no stone unturned in getting attention for your book?

* Which publisher was most enthusiastic about your book? This is critical. Over the years, I have had dozens of authors tell me that they were happy they selected me because I was the most enthusiastic about their project. There’s no substitute for passion and excitement. 

* Which publishing house felt the most like “home?” Ideally, you will not do only one book, you will do several. It would be great to not only find the best house, but the best “home” as well.   

A couple of caveats. Even though you have to select a publisher based on the [advance and the] current cast of characters, there is no guarantee that all the people you met will still be in the same position when your manuscript is completed or your book published.  Someone can get promoted, switch imprints within the same company, get fired, etc. Publishing is notorious for people playing musical chairs with their careers. There is not much you can do about this, other than be aware of this possibility and meet as many people from the imprnt as possible.       

OK, the moment has come. Remember, the advance is not unimportant. If one publisher offers you a $10,000 advance, and another a $50,000 advance, you know which one you have to take (unless there is something really repulsive about that company).  They see your book as a much bigger book. But if one offers $35,000 and another $50,000, that’s close enough for all of the intangibles we have discussed to be taken into account.

In the end, make sure that your final decision is not at odds with your gut. There is a lot to say about going with your gut…especially, should all else be equal.    



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