Do either of these statements sound familiar?
- Random House, Inc. does not accept unsolicited submissions, proposals, manuscripts, or submission queries via e-mail at this time.
- Simon & Schuster does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. We suggest that prospective authors submit their manuscripts through a professional literary agent.
Even though the Internet gives us quick access to current information, it is still tough to try to find a publisher for books or articles we’ve written. Wading through all the options is a time-consuming process. We do our homework, find what appears to be a good match, format the manuscript according to the publisher’s guidelines, mail it in, and then wait six months for a reply. Seeing your book through that process a few times can take literally YEARS. The truth is, only a tiny fraction of submitted manuscripts actually make it to publication. So what are some other choices?
For those who wish to self-publish, you may be interested in this article, Compare POD Publishers, in Writers Weekly. All of the reviewed services are fee-based of course, but sometimes authors take that route and have great success with it.
Try submitting to smaller markets. You may or may not be paid, but it’s a way to get your work into readers’ hands. Think church newsletters, human interest articles for the local newspaper, publications aimed at specific groups (garden club, book club, etc), and company newsletters. At the very least, you are honing your writing skills.
You can try a company such as Publish America. Yes, I know how to use Google and I’ve read the negative press about them, but there are two sides to that story. Here are some of the pros and cons as I see them —
- Pros: No cost to the author / Well-designed book with a beautiful cover / One free copy of book goes to the author / Easy submission process / Short time between submission and publication
- Cons: The author is responsible for his or her own publicity and marketing / There is little in the way of editing help / Books are overpriced, although an author can arrange to have both the expensive softcover and the lower-priced paperback available / There are many poorly-written books put out by this company, which tells me they are more a printing service than a traditional publisher. Still, it’s hard to argue with “free.”
Since I am not trying to earn a living through writing, sometimes all I want to do is get a piece into its final form so that I can forget about it and move on. So although I do plan to pursue more traditional publishing options in the future, I don’t rule out other venues.
Image credit: Pics 4 Learning