Yes, I’d been stung. I’ve detailed the story before about how an indie publisher from the States swindled me. It ate away at me, made me more determined than ever. And yes, there was a moment when I considered self-publishing, but it was never a serious thought.
I did some homework. But I’d done that before, and found a crook. So, I have to ask, how do you actually know the publisher you’re going with is not going to be a shark, or a vanity?
Recommendation? Personal would be best. Even nowadays with the social-media explosion, personal recommendations – the old-fashioned ‘word-of-mouth’ – are still the best for buying books, so why not finding a publisher?
But what if we don’t know anyone?
I had become a member of a social media site for authors and through them I approached a couple of publishers. My work was rejected, but I soldiered on and eventually found the one that liked my work, that had a good website, whose books were on Amazon and seemed a descent enough outfit. Until they told me I’d have to pay.
All right, it wasn’t a fortune. 300 pounds, but when I told some of my author ‘friends’ they were outraged. Nobody should pay to be published. I happen to agree with this. If your work is good enough, then it’s good enough to be invested in by others, not yourself. That’s how I see it anyway. But you know what it’s like, you’re desperate, impatient, it’s your first book and you want to see it on the shelves! Furthermore, the editor liked it, had already begun to work with me, and I was so pleased I went ahead. I took a deep breath and parted with my money.
‘Cold Hell in Darley Dene’ was my ‘first’ published book. I loved writing it, and the publishers ended up doing a great job and people who have read it have enjoyed it too. I’ve never had to pay since with that publisher, which is very gratifying, and subsequent publishers have not charged me a single penny either. The book was available in paperback originally, but is now also available as an e-book.
So, it boils down to this: Here are my thoughts on what you should do to find a publisher of repute.
• Join a writers group (not to be confused with a writing group, although one of these might help too!) and get personal recommendations
• Buy, or borrow ‘Artist and Writers Yearbook’ and find the agents who deal with your genre
• For Indies, go on Predators and Editors or Ralan.com
• Trawl through Amazon and look up the publishers that successful authors have used, visit their websites and read their submission guidelines
• Go on Writers Beware and, if that publisher is not listed, post a question.
• Google the publisher’s name. You might be surprised with what you’ll find!
• Piers Anthony’s site is very exhaustive and very good. This great sci-fi writer gives up almost all of his time exposing the sharks, and he should be knighted for his efforts!
• Join FirstWriter.com. Its costs around 4.99 a month, but it is well worth it. It lists publishers and agents from around the world, and not only gives their websites, but posts the views of others who have tried particular concerns themselves. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good publisher.
Okay, that’s it. Hope it’s of some use. Remember, try to rein in that impatience. You’ve written your book, you want it published. But do your homework first, and you won’t be stung by all those miserable SOBs out there.
Please visit http://www.glennstuart.co.uk for more news about me and my books.
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