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Our website (www.drakevalleypress.com) clearly states the genres that we do not publish.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