Wednesday, July 2, 2014

And the Rollercoaster sets off!

So here we are in July, and the madness really starts for me. The 25th marks the release of Tethered, the first of five titles I have coming out by the end of 2014. Yep. Five titles in six months. Three brand new novellas, one new short, and one full length novel being re-released. Clone assassins, cute zombies, a heartbroken warlock, a rogue superheroine, and my old Blue Demon Keir will all be set loose! Even writing that list is exhausting! I've already done the cover reveals for Tethered, and for Restless In Peaceville (the zombie story) which releases on the 20th August. I've also done the eleven blog posts for the tour for Tethered organized by Breathless Press (just eighteen to do for the tour I organized myself *whimpers*) and the second round of edits on When Dark Falls have already gone back, along with my cover art form. So now I need to work on the blog tours for both of those.

As yet I don't have a confirmed dates for Keir or When Dark Falls, but I'm hoping to take print editions of Keir to BristolCon in October. The paranormal short has a cover reveal set for the 1st October, and a release day on the 8th. When Dark Falls will be November or thereabouts. I'm also working on an angel short story for Breathless Press and a zombie short for Lycaon Press. I'm not even thinking about what might happen if those two get contracted. >.< But Tethered has already gone up on the Breathless Press site for pre-orders HERE. Soooo excited!

So right now I'm working on writing, editing, scheduling reveals/tours, artwork, and blog posts for all of those. A pretty typical author schedule whether you're trad or indie (although perhaps not so many titles all at once, lol. This year has been exceptional.). One of the bonus points of my two new publishers (Breathless and their sister YA press Lycaon) is they also help promote by organizing small blog tours, submitting for reviews, are very active on several social media platforms (which is why they got my attention), and positively love to pimp their authors. So I thought I'd talk about some of the things I look for now in a publisher when I'm looking for one. Um, these points are in no particular order of importance because they all contribute to the whole. The only one that I would rate number one is the Preditors & Editors/Absolute Write checks.

1. When you find a publisher you like/want to submit to, check them out. The Preditors & Editors, and Absolute Write forums are a good place to start. Also the Writer Beware blog. See if you can speak to one or some of their authors or ask in writing groups. You'll always find there may be one or two authors who have negative things to say about a particular publisher, but if the general consensus is AVOID, then you can discount that one author was just unfortunate in having a bad experience. Been there, done that. It can also be worth stalking some of their authors on Twitter to see what they're saying. Many are vocal if they think their publisher is doing them wrong.

2. Check out some of their authors and/or books. This gives you an idea of their covers (if you hate all the covers, chances are you won't like the one you get yourself), the genres they publish and possibly how well they're doing, what their editing and in-house style is like, where they distribute to (do they have their own online store and is it easy to use/find what you're looking for? A poorly done website/store is not going to attract readers. Most small presses will also offer multiple digital formats, which I think is great. The more formats they do, the better and easier for readers. Not everyone loves Amazon and Kindles). I've submitted to publishers because I love some of the books they've published, which is a good sign to me. And yes, I *have* been shallow enough to pick them for the covers in the first place. But I still check out all the other things too.

3. Their social media presence. This is something most publishers demand of their authors, even down to putting it into the contract. But I expect the same. Is their website professional and easy to use? Do they have a blog that's posted to regularly? Twitter? Facebook? Goodreads? And how active are they? How much do they interact? What kind of things do they do? And do they keep their authors up to date with upcoming events/promo ops/deals and discounts? It's no good if they put their books on at 25% off and don't notify their authors so the authors can also promote it.

4. Promo. Now, I came into publishing with eyes wide open knowing I would be responsible for most, if not all, of my promoting. This can vary from publisher to publisher though. Some will do blog tours for new releases, enable pre-orders for releases, give spots on their blog to help with the launch, possibly ads. Check this out beforehand. For a new author it can be overwhelming having to do all the marketing from scratch, so maybe a publisher who can give you a bit of help at the start with a tour is a bonus. Some publishers hold regular chats about marketing to help guide you, but will still expect the author to do it all. Some will send you swag you can hand out at conventions if pimping your books there. Promotion has to be my least favourite thing but it's necessary, and while I go for the soft sell a publisher that gives you a bit of help is a big bonus.

5. The contract. For the love of little apples, read and understand the contract before signing! And if you don't understand it, find someone who can explain it to you. Some publishers actually have sample contracts on their website, so you can get an idea. Be aware of what you're signing over and for how long. You can't bleat about it after you sign. Again, terms will vary. A lot of places are bringing in exclusivity clauses, which previously were only part of Big Five contracts. Watch out for those. Big Five or larger publishers can sweeten that by offering bigger promotional options, wider distribution etc, but not all small press companies offer anywhere near that in return.

Is there anything else you look for in a publisher? Did I miss anything out? Let me know!

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