Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.

- Graycie Harmon

Monday, August 24, 2009

Reasearching Publishers 101

Who knew that researching could be so much fun? It's actually pretty exciting sitting with a big book of who publishes what, going through and narrowing down your choices. Perhaps I should have become an R.A.?

Regardless, today's lesson is on Elimination: How to Narrow Down Your List of Prospective Publishers.

In a wonderful, perfect world, every single publishing house would accept every single manuscript for review. The truth is, however, they don't. You must, therefore, know thy publishing houses. For example, if a publishing house publishes only non-fiction titles, submitting a fiction manuscript will get you absolutely nowhere. Sounds pretty basic, right? In my case, I want to find publishing houses that will publish Fantasy titles. Of the 3 500 listed in 2010 Writer's Market, that leaves me with just 62.

Excellent! Now moving on.

Next to be cut out would be those publishing houses that will not accept any query, proposal or manuscript unless it comes from a literary agent. Submissions to agents will come later. Of the 61 North American options I had, there remains 57.


Next off the list would be perhaps the most obvious and it comes directly from knowing your audience. As basic as this sounds, I had no idea who my audience was until I had finished the Great Man series. Now that I do know, I can eliminate publishing houses based on that. The age range of your target audience will be the single largest deciding factor in reducing your options. In my case, for example, children are not my target audience. Neither are teens. This book is clearly for an adult audience. With publishing houses focusing on a younger audience struck from the list, the number of options is down to just 37.

Cutting based on audience doesn't end at just age-range, however. It also comes down to the tastes of the target audience. Exclusively religious publishing houses are out in my case, even if they accept Fantasy submissions. That was based purely on content. My story isn't particularly about religion. One more down.

There is a publishing house devoted entirely to lesbian protagonists. Well, my protagonist is a male, and not particularly homosexual, so that one goes as well.

One is devoted entirely to U.F.O.'s and government conspiracy theories. I have nothing of that in my manuscript! That's gone.

Here is a publishing house that wants sex. Don't we all? I especially love their 'Tips.'
"Our audience... wants to read more sex, more detailed sex.... More sex is the motto, but there has to be a storyline - a logical plot and a happy ending."
- Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc., 2010 Writer's Market, pg 153.
Oh dear. While there actually is a fair amount of sex in my book, not much of it goes into very explicit detail and there might be a slight problem with that happy ending. Clearly, this is not the publisher for me! Another one bites the dust.

One publisher is listed twice. I can't rightly count them twice, so I'll ignore the second listing.

That leaves a grand total of 32 publishers I can send a query/proposal/manuscript to. That's actually a fair amount and may just constitute years of waiting!

Don't get me wrong, I still really, really want to be published by Tor. I shall not be submitting anything to anyone else until I have either heard from Tor or six months have passed. That said, I have to prepare for a rejection. Let's face it, how many authors are accepted on their first submission? Exactly.

Now I have to do some serious research into each of my choices. A good thing I like research!

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