View Full Version : Asking about other writers' experiences with publishers

Marian Perera
09-04-2010, 10:57 PM
I was reading this very informative post by Stacia Kane (http://decemberquinn.blogspot.com/2007/07/find-right-publisher-part-four.html) on why writers in the early stage with new publishers may be too thrilled to be objective when they recommend the publisher to others. In other words, best not to trust them when they're in the honeymoon period.

In my experience, a few writers published by the more notorious vanity presses can't be trusted either. They may be so used to defending their press from criticism that they don't mention any of its problems in private either.

But what kinds of questions are best to ask to differentiate honeymooner fervor or apologist defenses from a genuine good and professional experience? I know there's not much point in asking whether the writer is happy, because some writers are satisfied selling a few copies of their books to their families while others want distribution, bookstore placement, etc. Also, how would you say is the best way to ask about advances and royalties?

Susan Littlefield
09-05-2010, 12:10 AM

Stacia's entry is indeed excellent and informative. I am doing all the reading I can on the query process, what to expect when submitting, publishing companies, agents, anything to do with publsihign, because I am getting ready to get at least my query letter out to agents for submission. (Actually, I have to learn how to write one, first, which is forthcoming). In any event, I have nothing to compare to in any sense of the word during this moving forward process, as this will be my first book publishing experience (though, I have some experience in publishing short stories).

Thank you for the link- I am really hungry for all the right information right now, so that I know what I am getting myself into. I really appreciate hearing from writers, such as yourself and others on this forum, who have experience to share.

09-05-2010, 12:37 AM
I think the only really objective measurement is hard data on sales. I mean, it's great if the publisher is supportive and cares about feedback, etc., but all of that seems to change over time, and from author to author. And I think the vague feedback on sales ("it's sold really well," etc.) is also prone to being subjective, and can say as much about the author's expectations as about the publisher. I say, show me the money!

Of course, this seems to be the hardest information to actually drag out of people - maybe that should be a warning sign in and of itself...

09-05-2010, 01:29 AM
I think tone is important. When a writer defends everything about a press, I don't believe them. Every press makes mistakes. A writer who won't acknowledge that is not a good source.

I can understand that they might not want to air issues they've sorted behind the scenes, but when they attack anyone with issues or difficult questions... it's a sign they have their rose-tinted glasses on.