I suppose it is time to make this common knowledge, because after all, it’s irrational to publish a book and not tell the world. I’ve decided to sign with Ambassador International to publish my novel, “Where the Sky Meets the Sand”.
I have prayed on this and slept on this and hunted for signs everywhere telling me this is the thing to do. And even though, in the end, we always need to trust our gut instincts on these kinds of decisions, we also need to gather all the facts we can and lay them all out.
1) There are all sorts of places to look for publishers. Random blurbs come up on my Facebook feed claiming things like “5 Top Publishers for New Authors”. I also did Google searches of “Christian publishers”, “Fiction Publishers”, etc. Another avenue I traveled down was just plain looking at who published books which I like. Lastly, there was my “2012 Christian Writer’s Market Guide”.
2) At that point it was getting overwhelming, so I narrowed it down to the first three I found which publish women’s contemporary Christian fiction and accept work without going through an agent.
3) I studied their websites, looking at not only what types of books they had already published, but also if they had typos. It is shocking to me how many places use “their”, “they’re” and “there” interchangeably. (And remember, I am still an amateur – you can forgive me the occasional misspelled word.) And even though there is a place for bad grammar, is it ever on a publisher’s website?
4) Next I studied those books they published. How was their ranking on Amazon? Did they get good reviews? Did the authors have an online presence? I even clicked on the “look inside” icon and read the first few pages of these books. Any typos there? Did the first page get my attention? Is this a book I would want to read? Or recommend?
5) I picked out two authors from the publisher which showed the most promise and emailed them asking about their experiences. They both got right back to me, more than happy to answer my questions. Maybe I am still just a small-town girl, but in addition to their positive responses, I appreciate that they did get back to me so quickly and didn’t seem as though I was bothering them in the least.
6) Last, and perhaps I should have done this first, I went on the “Editors and Predators” website and clicked on each of the publishers which had caught my eye. One of the publishers rated a negative review, so I did throw that one out right away. Reviews on the remaining two were a bit ‘meh’, as my son would say. And by the way, Aneko Press, who published my first three books, isn’t even listed on E&P. This website is a valuable tool, but like so many other things out there, it is only one tool in the toolbox.
7) Final thought – what do I want for my book, my baby? It took me nearly six years to get it to this point, how much more of my own sweat equity am I going to put into it? How many people do I want to reach with it? How many people should it reach?
So after all of that, I submitted it to Ambassador International and they offered me a contract – which meant one more thing to study and analyze and pick apart. And lose sleep over. I sent the publisher my list of questions and they were all answered professionally and reasonably. Oh, and I also online stalked the owner, the chief operating officer, and anyone else who I could find who worked for the publisher. Is that being too creepy? Or just playing it safe?
I’ll keep you posted on this new journey.