What Makes for a Good Publishing House?

When you’re on the quest to publication, it can be hard to know what makes a publishing house good or bad. Whether you want to go indie or join the Big 5 (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon and Schuster), you may feel like you don’t even know what to put on your pro and con list.

Even if you’re lucky enough to have gotten a book deal offer, it’s still a good idea to check out who you’re partnering with. Here’s what you want to find in a good publishing house: Continue reading

Publishing Terms A – Z

For those of you wondering about all the acronyms and lingo used in the publishing world, here are more than 60 popular publishing terms and definitions. I trust you already know your hardcovers from your paperbacks, so be prepared to learn some real publishing jargon. Have a word you want defined? Ask away in the comments section!

A

Acquisition: When a book is selected for publication by an editor.

Advance: The money paid to an author before the book goes on sale. It is called an advance because it is an advance against royalties…authors have to earn out the value of their advance before they can start earning royalties.

Agent: A representative of an author who wears many hats: editor, life coach, contract manager, deal broker, and more.

ALA: American Library Association

ARC: Advance Reader Copy, or an early proof of the book for readers and reviewers.

B

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To Query or Not to Query: Your top six querying questions answered

The world of querying agents is gray and murky at the best of times. Signings and acceptances are rare, and rejections—when they are sent at all—are generally something to the effect of “your book is not the right fit for me at this time.” Not quite the feedback the aspiring writer needs! So how do would-be authors make their query letters stand out among the hundreds or thousands agents receive each month? Read on for tips and advice on your top six querying questions, from finding the perfect agent to making yourself marketable.  Continue reading

How to Find a Literary Agent: The Manuscript, the Query, and More

Securing a literary agent is one of the hardest parts of being an author. It’s harder even than getting your book published—dozens of small presses will publish unrepresented work, and of course we are living in the heyday of self-publishing. But for those who dream of seeing a Random House or HarperCollins logo on the spine of their book, it’s nearly impossible to get attention for your book without a literary agent.

Why is that? Well, agents are the gatekeepers of publishing. Editors at big houses know that if a respected agent has put his or her stamp of approval on a manuscript, it is worth a look. So if you’re someone who wants a shot in the big leagues, start by looking for representation. I’ve put together the five basic steps for finding and querying an agent below. Good luck.  Continue reading

Behind the Scenes at a Publishing House: What Really Happens to Your Book?

The day has finally come: Your manuscript has been acquired by a publishing house! Congratulations. Whether you’re a first-time writer, self-publishing success, or veteran author, you may still have questions about what happens when the manuscript leaves your hands. How does a word document turn into the finished product? How much control will you have? How long will the process take? Every publishing house works differently, but I’ve broken down the basic steps that traditional publishers take to create a book.  Continue reading