“(Let me put on my writer hat) Okay, listen carefully! AFTER you get offered a contract is NOT the time to ask everyone you know, “Is XYZ a good publisher?” Do your research before you even SUBMIT to a publisher. They might say yes, you’ll be all excited, and that time is not the time to be checking them out. (In case you couldn’t tell, LOL, this is one of my pet peeves.)
“Make sure you check out a publisher before and after you submit. –Catherine Chant, author of Wish You Were HERE
Things are moving pretty fast in publishing land these days. The great publisher of six months ago could be filing for bankruptcy this month. A great tip-off is a website that was excellent when you submitted and today–not so much. My first stop is always Preditors and Editors before I submit.
“Look at their website from a customer perspective. Would you shop there? Is it appealing to look at? Is it easy to use? Are the book covers attractive or amateurish? How easy will it be for readers who don’t know you yet to find your book?” –Catherine Chant
These days anyone can throw up a website. Make sure a publisher has spent time making theirs inviting. The #1 question: would you shop there?
“Find out what they do for advertising, as well, or if they expect you to do it all yourself. If they do advertise, make sure they’re advertising to “readers” not just other writers, and that it consists of something other than just social media. If they do no advertising or if it’s just FB/Twitter, that would be a red flag for me.” –Catherine Chant
Advertising is a big thing in publishing. If all they do is FB/Twitter, I can do that myself. A publisher, e- or otherwise has to bring something to the contract that I can’t do myself, or don’t want to do myself.
“Buy a couple of their books and look at the quality of the writing and the editing. Typos or other mistakes would be another red flag for me.” –Catherine Chant
I would also add, check their covers. Are they attractive? Do they make you want to buy them? Check new releases–how are they ranking on Amazon?
So, ask yourself what you require from a publisher and make sure they deliver before you sign on that dotted line.
Big thank you to Catherine Chant for letting me use her comments. You can find out about Catherine and her books at: https://catherinechant.wordpress.com/
Jill James, proud author with The Wild Rose Press and self.