Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Why I Will Publish Your Book

In yesterday's blog, I talked about the main reasons I won't publish an author's work. Here are the reasons I will publish your book:

Reason #1: I Love Your Book

It isn't enough for me to like your book. I have to love it. Before your manuscript is ready for prime-time, I will have read it four to six times. I've read books that grabbed me each and every time; I've read manuscripts in which I discovered additional layers with each reading; I've read books I can't put down even though I've read them multiple times.

When I am reading a manuscript for the first time, I ask myself if I am ready to read it again... and again... and again. If I can barely make it through the first reading, I know I won't make it through the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th without wanting to ditch it. I have to be enthusiastic about it.

Reason #2: It Won't Require Significant Editing

When the book is a great read and I can tell that it will require very little if any editing, it's a sure winner in my book. I need to see that the author has invested their time and perhaps the time and cost of a professional editor to make the book shine. Grammar, punctuation, tense, backdrops, characters and the backstory all have to be as good as the plot.

Time is money. When an editor gets bogged down in editing, the price tag for that book goes up quickly. That means we have to sell even more books just to break even, and we'd better be able to defend our decisions to our board.

Reason #3: It's a Genre I Can Market

There are hundreds of genres and sub-genres in the marketplace today. Here at DVP, we have established relationships with companies who market and promote particular genres - specifically, suspense, mysteries, thrillers and romance. If I loved your book but I don't have inroads in that genre, I am not going to be able to help you; there are specific markets for children's books, for example, in which we have no experience.

Reason #4: You Have an Established Platform

Today's marketplace is fierce and the top priority for every author is to break away from the pack and get noticed by potential fans/readers. I will perform Internet searches on an author if the three reasons above have been satisfied. If they have a quality website, a current blog, and they are active in social media for the purpose of selling their book, those will increase the likelihood that they'll be offered a contract.

We prefer to work with authors who have already been published and who have a track record, meaning we can look up their previous titles and see how many copies they've sold. If they self-published a book and sold 500 copies in a year, it has our attention. If they've been traditionally published and they've sold thousands, it receives even more attention.

Authors who contact us with their first manuscript and have an over-inflated idea of their book's importance are not for us. We want authors who understand the publishing business, know how difficult and yes - frustrating - it can be, and who are in it for the long haul.

Reason #5: You'd Be Great to Work With

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, all companies are made up of individuals. We want to work with positive authors who understand they are a vital part of the team. If we run an Internet search and find positive, thought-provoking blogs, social media tweets or posts that do not offend, and authors who don't point the finger when things go awry (as they inevitably will), we take notice.

We want authors who understand that selling a book is not a sprint but a journey that will take months or perhaps years. They should understand that we're going to remain as positive as we can. We'll be ready to think outside the box. We'll have meetings and brain-storming sessions to try and find the author's right audience. If one thing doesn't work, we'll try another. There will be frustrating times. There will be bad days. We make mistakes, too. But if the author is ready and willing to continue trying and avoid finger-pointing, we are, too. We'll go the extra mile if they're willing to go with us.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Why I Won't Publish Your Book

As you can imagine, a great deal of my time is spent reading manuscript submissions and in determining whether the author will be offered a contract. Below are the four main reasons why I choose not to publish a book.

Reason #1: Inappropriate Genre

Our website ( clearly states the genres that we do not publish. Yet not a week goes by that I don't receive a query regarding a cookbook, coffee table book (with glossy photographs) or children's manuscript. Every author is best served with a publisher who is interested in their particular genre.

Reason #2: Your Book Is Poorly Edited (or hasn't been edited at all)

It's true that once upon a time, an author with a compelling story could receive a publishing contract. An editor would be assigned to the author and whether it took six months or six years, they would polish it together until it shone.

That time is long gone.

Competition today is fierce. There are so many authors with well-polished work that is ready to go immediately into production, that submitting a poorly-edited manuscript only shoots the author in the foot. Time is money. When I read a manuscript that will require a micro-editor (one who edits every single line, punctuation mark, and proper grammar) I see the price tag go up astronomically. If you have a terrific story but you're a poor writer, either take some classes or do yourself a favor and find an excellent ghost writer.

Reason #3: You Have No Platform

Once again, it was true that publishers used to fund an author's marketing and promotional campaign. But that, too, has changed over the years. There are two reasons for this: the Internet and savvy authors. The Internet has made it possible for anyone to create a platform for their book. Blogging, social media and author websites are the norm. You might be a great writer but you have to understand that you're competing against authors with some very savvy marketing skills.

We want to know that once your book is released, you have fans and readers who are ready to purchase it. Unless you have thousands of family members, that means you must have a platform. Waiting until you get a publishing contract is too late to start.

Reason #4: You've Proven Difficult to Work With

Let's face it: all companies are made up of individuals. At Drake Valley Press, we love what we do and we enjoy working with authors who are willing to work with us, have a positive attitude, and appreciate the amount of time and effort we put in on their behalf - 99% of which is behind the scenes.

We're going to run Internet searches on your brand name (or pen name) and if we find blogs, tweets or comments filled with negativity, deriding your last publisher, criticizing the general public for not buying your last book, it gives us pause. If you have a political platform or agenda that offends half the population, we're not the right publisher for you. There are publishers out there who thrive on adversity and self-inflicted drama. We are not one of them. We want authors we enjoy working with who enjoy working with us. The entire process is a team effort and when half of the team wants to fight us every step of the way, you're just not worth it.

Authors We Love: Coming Up Tomorrow