Monday, December 6, 2010

When it rains it pours, and this can be a good thing.

Have you ever put off a certain decision thinking you'll never have to make it anyway? I'm guilty, and after four very busy brain draining days, I am not equipped to even start on this decision. So, I'm here to ask for your help locating good information.

Let me back up a moment. Sunday I came home from church with one thing on my to-do list--take a nap. I ate some lunch and sat down to email a friend my cooking curriculum before heading to my bed. The email opens and look, I have an email from one of the small publishers I pitched to in October.

Plans are derailed! I stare at the few short sentences and feel completely blank. The words don't register, and then when they hit me I actually panic. Yes, panic!
Hi Charity, how are you? I want to find out if this has been contracted anywhere yet? We loved your story but before a contract is issued I need you to clean up as many of the 'I' highlights marked in your ms attached to this email. The "I" is repetitive and you can easily reword some of these sentences and avoid it.
What!? Wait, I'm not sure I want to go this route. All I hoped for was a rejection with some advice on how to make it better so I could hook that agent. Now what do I do? What if this is the right choice for me? Aaaahhh! In spite of all my pretty talk the last few days, Completely Unprepared!

I planned to research the pros and cons of getting an agent vs small publisher--next year. It's part of my Post Nano series, but I haven't started. I don't know enough to decide what's best for me, what I really want.

I think hooking an agent and selling to a big publisher is major validation. Is that what I want, or do I want to get my story into people's hands? The publishing world is changing and I believe both choices are becoming more widely acceptable, but what do I want?

Yesterday, I closed the email without answering. I need to take some time, do some research and soul searching. Sometime today, I will answer that email to let this wonderful person know that I do have it out on submission with a couple other places and would prefer to hear back from them. At the same time, I want to ask some questions about this particular publisher to help me get a feel for what they are offering.

Here are the questions I came up with:
  • What can I expect from them in regards to marketing?
  • What will I be expected to do to help market (and can they teach me how to do it)?
  • What kind of editing help is available before going to print? Their website says there is an editing process, but how does it work?
  • They ask for all English speaking world publishing rights. Where exactly does that cover and does that mean my book will be available internationally in English speaking locals?
  • How are their other books selling?
  • What kind of sales are average for their company?
  • They are royalty paying (quarterly if you make more than $20), but do they offer any kind of advance?
  • Can they give me an average range their clients are currently seeing with royalties?
  • Can I contact some of their authors to discuss the company?
  • Where are the books available? Only on their website or other venues?
What else should I ask? And, do you know of some excellent articles I can read to get a better feel for this whole agent vs small publisher question?

I also have a request for a full with another small publisher that I haven't mailed yet. This second publisher is one that a fellow blogger is associated with. She's awesome and I know I could talk to her about what it's like to work with them. I want to go ahead and send it.

Do you think I'm potentially burning bridges if I want to wait a few months to see who else might be interested?