Thursday, April 03, 2008

Targeting an E-Publisher (Part 2)

I'm posting this early because I actually have to get to bed before midnight.

You can read part 1 of this series here.

Narrowing the Field
There are a lot of factors to take into account when you look at e-publishers. As is the case with a lot of things, there’s no absolutely perfect solution for everyone. You will need to make choices and consider tradeoffs. Only you can tell what is truly important to you for any particular story and any time in your writing career.

When you look at the list below, I encourage you to make a list of pros and cons for each e-publisher you’re considering. If you are not eligible for that e-publisher for some reason, just remove them from the list. This will leave you with a much clearer idea of what places may suit your work and you can then rank the remaining e-publishers in order of how desirable you find them.

E-Publisher Submissions Page Information
One of the best places to start is the e-publisher’s own submissions page. A lot of the most basic information you need should be located there. If the e-publisher you are considering does not have a submissions page, that may be a red flag right there.

Are Submissions Open or Closed?
Closed submissions means, if you are determined to write for this e-publisher, you’ll have to wait to submit until the submissions open again (or a contest is being held). If submissions are closed, make a note of the date they will reopen to submissions, if it’s mentioned.

Does Your Story Fit the Guidelines?
If your story doesn’t match the list of what that e-publisher is buying or, worse yet, violates one of their explicit rules, don’t bother to submit it.

What Needs to be Submitted and How?
Some e-publishers want information in addition to the more standard query letter and partial. If you do not already have this information available, it may cost you some time to produce it.

The type of material requested may also give you clues to the e-publisher’s concerns – for example, a request for a marketing plan may give you an indication that the e-publisher may be concerned that their authors make a significant contribution and investment in self-marketing and promo. These may also be positives or negatives, depending on your own comfort levels or resources.

What is the Stated Response Time?
This can be significantly different between different e-publishers. Most e-publishers request that you at least indicate if you are doing simultaneous submissions (submitting to more than a single publisher and/or e-publisher at any one time) and some request that you do not do it. What that means is that your submission may be tied up waiting for a response for an e-publisher for up to a year or maybe even more and you need to factor this into your submission decision and order.

What are the Standard Contract Terms?
Many e-publishers list at least their author royalty percentage and a few post sample contracts on their websites. You should try to get an idea of both royalty percentage and just what rights are requested and note those details down.

Is Print Possible? On What Terms?
This is only listed on e-publisher submissions pages occasionally but if going into print at some point is important to you, be sure to look around and see what you can discover about the chances of going into print and what is required. Sometimes it’s a certain minimum of sales, sometimes the author has to pay into production or buy a certain number of books to qualify.

I'll post more on Saturday, as long as Emily doesn't kill me first because I'm rather long-winded.

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