Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Guest post: "Finding a Publisher: The Right Fit," by Gabriel Valjan, Author of 'Corporate Citizen'



“…the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity.”

You know the sentence from Charles Dickens. What most people who quote that famous sentence forget is that someone has his head chopped off at the end of the story. You don’t want to be that guy when it comes to finding a publisher.

A quick aside – I was asked to judge fiction submissions for a literary contest. What do you think was the number one problem? It wasn’t the writing. Drum roll please while mounting the scaffold. The problem was as blatant as the glare from the guillotine’s blade. Most writers did not, could not, and would not follow simple directions. Seriously. The directions were in plain view. Your mom may have told you that you were gifted and special, but I hate to break the news: you are not a special snowflake, so, like it or not, here is the shiny, sparkly advice: follow directions.

The best way to find a publisher is not online or consulting a reference book. That is too easy. The best way is to get thee to a bookstore or a local library and be practical about the matter. Get your hands on a book, several books if you can, of your intended publisher. Do you like the font, the page layout, the way chapter breaks are done, the back cover blurb and the cover art? In a word, do you like their ‘shop’? None of these things is superficial because many an author finds out that that they have no say in the editing or cover art. Find a publisher whose colors you would want to wear. Write down the name of the publisher and play Sherlock behind the keyboard and found out what the house is looking for in a Call for Submissions.

Follow directions on font, margins, and spacing.

Once you have primed your eyes on a publisher, then ‘stalk’ authors in the publisher’s stable and see how they promote their books. While an author’s platform is an individual thing, you can learn a lot about a publisher from their authors. Are they supportive of each other? Most publishers do not have budgets for PR, but they do impart ‘guidelines’ to their authors. The ultimate question is: Would you want to be associated with these people?

Keep all your communication short, simple, and professional, whether it is a query or an urge to respond to a rejection. Risk sounding almost atonal because emails are subject to interpretation. Good manners never go out of style. Need to vent about a rejection? Write it all out and burn the piece of paper. Rejection sucks, I get it, but none of this is personal. Time is money and this is a business. Resist the urge to make snarky comments online about agents, editors, or other writers. Your story wants a forever home. Editors and agents love to read and they want to find the next great reading experience.

The publishing world is small and any malodorous comments to an editor will get aired somewhere. I can’t emphasize this enough. True story here: a writer flamed the sender of a rejection not knowing that the person who had sent the polite rejection was the owner of the publishing press. You guessed it: that snowflake was forever consigned to virtual hell. The point is people know each other. One person may not accept you but that person may direct you to someone who will.

Track your submissions, so there are no painful blunders. Careful research may reveal that the small label you thought was indie might be a small imprint of a larger firm. You don’t want to stumble in front of the same editor with the same story. Submittable is a great online tool for tracking your submissions.

Network. If you attend readings or conferences, you may hear or learn about new agents or editors in search of new authors. Editors are the gatekeepers. Be polite and strive to make a good impression. It is a job interview.

If you do not succeed, try again and, most importantly: keep writing.

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ABOUT THE BOOK


Title: Corporate Citizen: Roma Series Book Five
Genre: Mystery-Suspense/Thriller
Author: Gabriel Valjan
Publisher: Winter Goose Publishing
Purchase link: http://amzn.to/2b9E2qE

A call for help from an old friend lands Bianca and the crew back in Boston. On a timeout with Dante, due to revelations in the aftermath of the showdown in Naples, Bianca is drawn to a mysterious new ally who understands the traumas of her past, and has some very real trauma of his own. Murder, designer drugs, and a hacker named Magician challenge our team, and Bianca learns that leaving Rendition behind might be much harder than she thinks.



About the Author:

Gabriel Valjan is the author of the Roma Series from Winter Goose Publishing as well as numerous short stories. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he enjoys the local restaurants, and his two cats, Squeak and Squawk, keep him honest to the story on the screen.

Connect on the web:

Twitter: @GValjan