Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Welcome to Drake Valley Press

Drake Valley Press is a traditional, royalty-based publisher. We began the business in 2000 and adopted the Drake Valley Press imprint in 2002.

So why, you might ask, haven't you heard of us?

Our management team has been busy researching the publishing industry's changes, determining its future, and making decisions on where our corporation should fit in the mix. We have been publishing a variety of authors and genres but effective 2013, we completed the business and marketing plans and strategies that will move us into the future.

The management team's experience dates back to the 1970's, which feels like the dinosaur age of publishing. Back then, authors could submit entire manuscripts to publishers. They often ended up in the "slush pile", which was anything from an area of a small room to several rooms, depending on the publisher's size. Anyone who worked at that publisher could pick something out of the slush pile and read it. It he or she liked it and thought it would do well as a published work, they could recommend it to one of the editors, who might or might not read it and follow through.

The slush piles have been almost completely eliminated. The largest publishers will primarily accept submissions only through literary agents. Small and mid-size publishers such as ourselves don't have the time or resources to house hundreds or thousands of unsolicited manuscripts which may or may not still be available when we get around to reading them.

So how do we operate? And if you're an author who would like to submit your manuscript, how do you do so?

You begin with a query addressed to Senior Editor Don Freeman (at) dfreeman (at) What should be in this query:

(1) An opening paragraph that states your manuscript's title, your name and pen name, the word count, and the genre.

(2) One or two paragraphs about your manuscript. We want to know what it is about your manuscript that made you enthusiastic enough to write it, why we should be excited to read it, and why retailers and readers would be enthused about buying it. The subject, plot and characters should grab us and make us want to know more.

(3) One or two paragraphs about yourself. If you've been published previously, tell us what you've published and how many copies have been sold. Tell us what experience you have that makes you an expert in the type of book you've chosen to write. Today's audience is sophisticated, smart and savvy; "write what you know" has never been more accurate.

(4) Provide us with links to your website, your blog, and any social networking that is geared toward your writing career. Give us contact information including a physical address, phone number and your email address.

(5) Tell us what your marketing plan is. We're looking for authors who understand that in today's marketplace, they are expected to actively assist in the promotional campaign and consistent, on-going marketing efforts. Your marketing plan tells us how much you understand about this industry, what your goals are, and how you intend to help us sell your work.

If we like what we see, we'll ask for the first fifty pages of your manuscript plus your favorite scene in the book.

We are looking for work that has already been professionally edited. Today's market is competitive. Authors are hiring professional editors at a rising rate. When their work is submitted, it is 99% toward being ready for production. If you submit manuscripts with misspelled words, grammatical or punctuation errors and badly formed sentences, you are doing yourself a disservice. Your competitors will be more prepared, and your manuscript will be rejected.

If we accept your manuscript, we will edit your book - but we're not going to accept anything that needs large chunks rewritten or heavily edited. Micro-editing books in which the author should know the basics of writing but doesn't is a waste of everyone's time.

If we like the excerpts we've requested, we'll ask for the entire manuscript.

And if we like the entire manuscript, we'll offer a contract.

We do take simultaneous submissions, but please indicate you are submitting it elsewhere when you query us.

We do not accept queries that are not addressed to us, and which are clearly broadcast to every publisher on an extended email list.

We do not publish children's books, coffee table books or books requiring a large number of illustrations. Please do not send your query by snail-mail without a stamped, self-addresses envelope for our response.

What can you expect from this blog?

We'll be posting information about our company and the publishing industry in general every Wednesday. Topics we intend to explore include the various types of editing; the publishing process from acceptance through production; the distribution channels; what it means when a book goes out of print; the "numbers game" all for-profit publishers are engaged in; how the publishing industry is changing, and more.