How to choose a publisher

One good way to find the right publisher for your book is to find similar books in your topic area or genre, and submit your manuscript to the publishers of those books.

When using this method, you do need to ensure that a book very similar to yours hasn’t been published very recently. Publishers will often reject books that are too similar to those they are currently trying to promote. You’re looking for books related to yours, but not exactly the same. Books that will have a similar audience.

Yes, that’s very hard to figure out. I never said this was easy.

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Penguin Random House merger approved

The Big Six is now the Big Five, which somehow just doesn’t have the same ring to it. The deal sailed through the regulatory approval process in all the countries that had a say in it. The New York Times gives this picture of publishing’s new behemoth:

The new company would have more than 10,000 employees, 250 independent publishing imprints and about $3.9 billion in annual revenues.

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Q&A: What is an imprint?

Q: Yesterday you mentioned imprints at the Big Six publishers. What is an imprint?

A: It’s a brand within a brand.

question answer


Just like Proctor & Gamble makes Tide detergent for clothes and Cascade detergent for dishes, large publishers—especially the vast publishing conglomerates that make up the Big Six—form different brands for different products. For example, Random House has Waterbrook Multnomah for the Christian submarket, Del Rey for science fiction and fantasy, and Ballantine Books for the general market. Continue reading

Four kinds of publishing jobs

Over on LinkedIn, Lou Adler posted an article about getting the right people in the right kind of job. Based on his history of creating job descriptions for employers, he developed a model that states “there are only four different jobs in the whole world.”

What he means by this is that there are four types of jobs: Continue reading

What’s traditional about publishing

Since the earliest days of mechanized publishing, when Herr Gutenberg was putting ink to paper in what for the time was a staggering pace, there have been printers and publishers and, as noted earlier, these were usually two different people. The publisher paid the printer to produce the book, and the publisher made his money on sales of the book. If the author was lucky, he got a cut, too, but for a long time, especially in the states, this was iffy. No one likes to admit it these days, but a big portion of the profits of publishers in the 19th century came from bootleg copies of books by British authors like Charles Dickens. Continue reading

Choosing your publishing model part 2

The other day, we looked at three of the factors that go into choosing your publishing model: Money, Skill, and Control. Today we’ll finish up.


Royalty publishing takes a looooooong time. It can take up to 18 months to get a book through the production process. At major houses, once you have a contract, you’ll usually get through the process within that time frame, sometimes faster. At small presses, timeframes vary widely. Because they are nimble, small presses can often get a book produced faster than a behemoth publisher where every decision has to go through three committees. But small presses are more subject to sudden workflow interruptions like funding shortfalls or a key player falling ill with no one to pick up their role.

But the biggest obstacle, timewise, is the length of time it takes to get the contract. Continue reading

How to decide which publishing model is right for you

I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the different models for publishing—royalty, subsidy, and do it yourself—and you’ve probably noticed I haven’t come out and said which is best.

That’s because none of them are perfect for everyone.

There are four main factors to consider when choosing which model to use. Today we’ll look at the first three, and Thursday we’ll finish up. Continue reading