Monday, April 12, 2010

More on Trying to Get a Man…oops, I mean Trying to Get a Publisher

Ok, so we're sticking with the theme of how trying to get a pubisher is kind of like trying to hook yourself a man and we went over some of the tactics. (Ok, I'm not trying to rewrite Sun Tzu's Art of War but stay with me here.)

You've worked on yourself, you're feeling and looking better than you ever did before. You've got some hot duds for your hot body. Now it's time to research the places where all the eligible (for you) guys hang out. Remember - if you want a mature man spending time at the local college clubs isn't going to hook you any fish you'll want to take home. Want a guy who likes jazz, make a list of the jazz clubs in your area. Interested in the alternative scene, do your research! Find those basement hideaways, warehouse digs, etc..

It's the same when looking for a publisher. Once you've polished your manuscript till it gleams, cut out all the extraneous stuff, made the love scenes zizzle, don’t undermine yourself by putting all your eggs in one publishing basket. Check out a wide variety, make yourself a list of twenty or thirty publishers and submit your queries or partials to them, in batches of five or six. You’re just looking, remember? You’re not out to get all serious and monogamous at this stage. Even if one requests a partial, don't stop sending your queries out. It's like with that hot guy at the club who took your number and, wonder of wonders, actually called on the second day. That's great but you just met, for God’s sake! Wait until signatures have been put on the dotted line before all your writerly hopes and ambitions you do endow.

Okay, so now you’ve been out on a few dates with Mr. Hottie. You’ve had a couple exchanges with a publisher and they’re reviewing the full. It’s a heady time so celebrate but don’t start turning down other dates just yet. Keep your options open until you get a solid offer. Oh, and now’s not the time to turn all needy and start emailing and calling the publisher (or Mr. Hottie, for that matter) to find out what the status is on your manuscript (or the relationship). If they’ve had it for three months without word, you can send a polite reminder. After six months, well, hopefully you’ve been continuing to date other guys, er, to send out queries so the neglect won’t sting as bad.

But what if they loved it and now the offer’s on the table? Now it’s time for you to do your due diligence and go over that contract with the finest tooth comb you possess. Read it over until you can quote it in your sleep. Check out websites for writers (like this one - and read any advice you can on publisher contracts. Network with other writers and ask them about any clauses you may be unsure of. You might even want to hire a lawyer who’s familiar with publishing contracts to look it over for you. Getting out of a contract can be even more difficult than a trip to divorce court.

Being single can sometimes suck but choosing the wrong man or the wrong publisher can be even worse. And then again, when you choose the right man and the right publisher, well, life can hardly get better, can it?

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