Friday, March 14, 2008
Right below this post, Emily has a list of Teddy's recommended e-publishers, as well as the recommended e-publishers based on sales. I am very lucky, because I began my career with Liquid Silver, and then branched out to work with Amber Quill, and Samhain. I have several books with each publisher, solo as well as with Vivien. So, in light of the anger and dismay over New Concepts, I thought I'd explain what it's like to work with a good and competent e-publisher.
First, the submission process. Amber Quill is a little different because they do not have open submissions. They're by invite only, except during their annual Amber Heat contest. That's how I got there. But, even though the process with them is a little different, there are still some things to take into consideration.
When I emailed to ask questions prior to submission, all three publishers responded promptly and with an appropriate answer. After I submitted my manuscript, I received confirmation from all three that it was, indeed, received, and told roughly when to expect an answer. They were prompt, helpful, and pleasant.
After acceptance, I was assigned to an editor. In the case of LSB, the acquisitions editor introduced me to my editor. In the case of Samhain, I received an acceptance letter from the editor I was to work with "permanently" (it's in quotes because she later left and I was assigned to a different editor). In the case of AQP, I received an email from the editor with the edits already attached. In all three cases, a dialogue between myself and the editor was highly encouraged, and I didn't feel shy or awkward about contacting them with questions, problems, or suggestions.
The editing process is always harrowing, but never because I had a "bad" editor. And bad editors are out there. In one instance, I had an editor that I had a major personality conflict with. When I kept feeling like I was hitting a brick wall, to the detriment of the book, I sent a politely worded email up the food-chain, and the problem was worked out. You should always be able to talk to your editors without fear of reprisal or being "black-listed." Remember, the editors and publishers are not doing you a favor by accepting your book, and you should never have to kow-tow to them. Be polite, of course. Be professional. Don't work for a publisher where you have to be afraid of what you say.
The editing process varies with each of our publishers. Samhain is far more labor intensive than AQP for various reasons, for example. Every publisher has their own process, and if you're unsure of how that process works, do ask questions.
Once you get to this step, editing isn't the only thing you have to worry about. All the e-publishers I've worked with have an art information form. Don't be obnoxious about the cover art--it's never going to be exactly how you imagined it, though there are certain artists who get pretty damned close. (Here, I must give a shout out to April Martinez and Anne Caine.) You also have to start considering what you're going to do for promo.
Your publisher should be a part of promotion. This is their money, too, after all! If your publisher leaves it all up to you and doesn't even bother sending out review copies, this is a problem. A big, stinking problem. If your publisher doesn't tell you when your release date is so you can make plans, that's also a big stinking problem. If you don't get your artwork until 2 days before the book is released, that's another big, stinking problem. Your publisher should never, ever hinder your promotion. If your publisher does, find a new publisher.
This is getting really long, so I'll do part 2 next week--everything that happens after the release and sustaining a relationship for the long-term. If I left something out, please feel free to add it in the comments. :)