Tuesday, July 17, 2007
A: Last year Crone Publishing added errors to books, had all the covers drawn by a five year old and slipped into foul mouthed and paranoid tirades when asked for royalties that were due.
B: So, any news about them lately?
Repeat after me: the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. A new publisher is a mystery, but an old one is too--unless you do your research.
Bear in mind that one or two complaints are likely to be down to the author. And amicable debates about minor things like house style, website design and so on are actually a good sign. In terms of utter silence, rule one (see yesterday) still applies. The worst publishers may release books contingent on a gag order or keep unhappy authors silent with the help of a pack of AULs (authors of unquestioning loyalty).
First check out Preditors and Editors, Piers Anthony's website and forums such as Absolute Write and ERWF. Look for sales figures at Show Me the Money and EREC.
There are two types of publisher that will get a lot of positive hype, very good ones and very new ones with a fresh crowd of cheerleaders. The main difference is that good publishers get specific praise from their authors (include some of the old hacks), and favorable mentions from readers who are not authors.
But the only way to be sure is to make a few specific enquiries direct in private to the publisher and/or some of their authors. If you approach an author you have some connection to, share a forum or write in the same genre for example, they will almost always give you the real deal, although you may need to read between the lines a little. Do try and be aware of which authors also have a direct interest in the press--often under a different name.
Defensive or aggressive replies are instructive, unpleasant admittedly but it is better to be snarled at before signing any contracts than have things go sour afterwards. If you spend months or years writing a book a few days of market research is a good investment.
All this cynical talk about dogs may make me sound like a bitch ;) -- but a little caution helps authors find epublishers they will love as much as I love mine!