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Thread: Questions to ask an author about a publisher?

  1. #1

    Questions to ask an author about a publisher?

    It turns out I have met, briefly and years ago, an author who has written for the publisher I'm thinking of submitting to (once it's finished). I come up with some questions to ask, but are there any you would suggest. The questions I've brainstormed are, in no particular order:

    1. What does he generally think of the publisher, and
    the editor he worked with?

    2. What is their first print run?

    3. Did you submit a query letter, or were you contacted?

    4. How long did it take from query to request for
    chapters or manuscript?

    Any others that come to mind?

    Thanks for the input,

  2. #2

    Re: Questions to ask an author about a publisher?

    First of all, the editor might no longer be there.

    Second, I'm sure that print runs vary. If it's been years, then the interval may have seen policy changes that your author friend isn't aware of.

    Third, it's been my experience that virtually every writer has encountered different circumstances in being signed. Relying upon what happened to your friend happening to you is a sure way to encounter disappointment.

    Fourth, again, it's been years, so policies and response times are certain to have changed some due to technology improvements. Those aren't always for the better.

  3. #3

    Re: Questions to ask an author about a publisher?

    Sorry, I didn't make myself clear enough. I haven't seen the author in years, but their experience with the publisher is current.


  4. #4
    Karen Ranney

    Print Runs

    I'd be very surprised if you got any information about print runs from another author. That's normally very sensitive information. It varies from author to author, and is akin to asking what his salary is currently. You might think of phrasing it somewhat vaguely, and if s/he wants to volunteer more, great. "Is there such a thing as an average starting print run for the _____ imprint?" That sort of thing.

  5. #5

    Re: Questions to ask an author about a publisher

    Hi Karen,

    Oops, I see exactly what you mean. Thanks for giving me the etiquette lesson.


  6. #6
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    New Hampshire
    The author may not even know the print run.

  7. #7
    wishes you happiness JennaGlatzer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    That's true. I usually don't, unless I specifically ask. I've sometimes found my initial print runs by accident in catalogues or on the publisher's website (only if they're bragging because it's a high initial run).

    Chac, I know this is an old post, but those are good questions to start. Then, once you get interest from the publisher, you might ask your friend if there's anything to watch out for in the contract. My biggest bugaboo with a few publishers was that I didn't get approval over the title or cover art-- that's something I know to always insist on in contracts now.
    I am no longer here. If you'd like to visit me, please find me at or on Facebook. Thanks!

  8. #8
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Far from the madding crowd
    Another issue: the announced print run (which you sometimes see in Publishers Weekly or some similar source) is usually a total fabrication--double or triple what they actually plan to print.

    - Victoria


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