When an author creates something one of the first things that may come through their mind upon completion is who do they want to publish their work? I’m sure that they entertain visions of notoriety and potential celebrity status. Using a publisher is a great way to get your work out there. But, its not always easy to ‘break in’ to the publishing world. Several publishing companies won’t even talk to you unless you have agent representation. Others require very specific query letters to be sent and if you somehow missed a step in that query letter, the whole packet you sent gets tossed. Not kidding. In all likelihood, you as an author will never hear anything back unless the contact person likes your work and offers you a contract. Gone are the days of rejection letters. That means a lot of postage and a lot of time sending out submissions and query letters hoping that someone somewhere will take the time to read your masterpiece and contact you.
In today’s world, publishers usually won’t take the time to contact an author if their work wasn’t accepted. To somewhat fill in the gap of rejection letters, self publishing outlets appeared.
With the advent of self publishing outlets, more and more authors are putting their work out there for others to read. In some cases, medium to large publishing firms are noticing the sales and popularity of some of these new authors and offering them a contract. Of course that is the best case scenario for almost every author, to be picked up by a large pub house and move into where the ‘real’ money is.
There are several schools of thought about self publishing versus contract publishing. With self pub you as the author need to find a cover artist, editor, proof readers, and if you don’t know how to upload files to Amazon or some other site, someone who is technically proficient enough to do that for you. These could all cost you some serious out of pocket expense. With a contract publisher like Baen or Simon and Schuster, all those services are in-house. There are other companies out there that offer these services as a package. These companies are sometimes referred to as vanity press companies or publishers as you purchase a publishing package that could be as expensive as $10,000 (or more) and those companies will edit, format, proof, publish, and promote your work.
As you can see, there are several options for authors but once they complete their project, how do they get the attention of a publisher? You could hit a convention that caters to the genre you wrote in. You could contact them online via their website and read how to send in a submission. Or you could go the self publishing route and hope someone takes notice of your work. All these options are viable but the last one is more of a shot in the dark. However, there have been authors that have been picked up that way.
As an author, kind of strange to refer to myself as an author, I’ve haunted publishing company websites and read the requirements for query letters and submissions. I even took the time and wrote out a query letter. I never sent it but I did write one just to see if I could do it. I’m not sure if I’ll ever contact a publisher. Admittedly, it would be totally awesome for some publisher, legitimate publisher not some stooge boy who thinks they have a publishing company, to contact me with an offer. Not real sure how I’d react to it but it would be awesome. Will I contact a publisher? I don’t know. But, if I do, you can be sure that I will perform some serious research into any publisher that I may contact.
In reality, how does an author get the attention of a publisher? I’d recommend doing a google search for publishers of whatever genre you write in. Not only will you get a list of companies, you’ll also see any complaints they may have against them. Just as authors research, for the most part, they need to research into publishing houses and publishers as well.