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Indigo River Publishing

Corri

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I am relatively new to using this site and I did do a search before beginning this thread...my apologies if I've missed any possible posts on this.

I've had a call from Indigo River Publishing and before returning the call, I would like to know if anyone has had dealings with this company before. They seem to be interested in talking about the novel I submitted to them less than a month ago. It usually takes much longer to get a response from a publisher, in my experience. And I usually get an email, as opposed to a call.

I've done some searching around online and they seem legit, but I know how good vanity presses are at hiding the truth about the nature of their business.

It's sad that writers have to be so distrustful when nibbles and offers come their way!

Here's their website. Any comments are appreciated! Thanks.

http://www.indigoriverpublishing.com/
 

Filigree

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They have a lot of books on Amazon, and seem to have been around a few years. Weighted toward self-help and misery memoir, with some mysteries and kid's books as well. Their 'about' page is bland and opaque. Some of the language suggests a vanity publisher's code: they might be pay-to-publish on some things.

*If* I were researching this pub before querying them, I'd look up their Pensacola address and find out more from Florida Corporation Commission and the local county assessor's office for names behind the company. Same with local court cases. See what they say and don't say on Facebook. Stalk all their authors' social media to see if any of them reveal the signs of vanity-published authors, or any issues they're raising about Indigo.

Yes, it's between twenty and a hundred hours of work, depending on your Google Fu and if you have a white pages 'peoplefinder' info account. But this is the stuff you should be doing long before querying.

Added: Sorry if that came across as too harsh. I don't know what amount of looking around you did beforehand, so I apologize.

First off, what are their sales ranks on Amazon? Not the only sales platform around, and Amazon's algorithms are difficult to decipher. But you should get an idea of general sales frequency, by checking Amazon listings. Any number over a million means thst book hasn't sold a copy recently (pattern varies from a couple of months to a year). A decent small press should have at least 50% of its books under 100,000 in sales rank. Otherwise you have to wonder where they're making money.

Again, more research needed.
 
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dawinsor

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Also, their front page promotes a "free gift," which is a redundant phrase that grates on me. Publishers should care about language.
 

Filigree

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Okay, I chugged through the first 4 pages of 8 or so, in their Amazon catalog. Nothing inspiring: the same mix of self help, memoir, mystery, and kidlit I saw on their site. Mostly paperbacks, often very pricey. Some Kindle versions. Of the entries I checked, only three were currently below 600,000 sales rank. Most...even 2017 entries, were over a million. That doesn't bode well for Amazon sales or general marketing, and certainly doesn't live up to the 'new and improved' hype.

On top of that I'd say look carefully at their Deep South focus (though natural for their Pensacola base), the apparent age and background of many of their writers, and the blurb on on particular book MURRAN. There's also a fantasy author who published something different than their usual, so they're all over the map on genre.

I'd probably not pick them over other regional Southern publishers I know better.
 

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Filligree, you are right in your assessment of my research before the query. Your skill base in that area well-surpasses mine. I have a great deal to learn about that end of things, obviously. What I have been doing is: googling publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts, checking out their websites and clicking around on their books, googling reviews of their companies in an attempt to find out if they are vanity presses, and looking for them on Facebook. That is the extent of my meager research skills. You have shown me that querying is a science. Thank you for your helpful comments. My mind is boggled, but I have a better idea about these publishers now. Do you do this kind of in-depth research every time you submit something? Considering that it takes months to hear back from a publisher (if at all), I can't imagine how you get around the investment of that kind of time. You sound like the rock star of querying...

- - - Updated - - -

You're absolutely right!
 

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One thing to do is to aim high. There are many reasons for this, but one of the less-talked-about ones is that when you query the top agents in your genre (or submit to top publishers--but try agents first) it's easier to be sure they're legit because you've read books they're repped or published. It leaves a positive trail.

You never know who's going to love your book. So aim high.

Often with these smaller houses that pop up here, even when they're legit publishers they're still places that should be well down an author's list. It's good to try and place a book that maybe didn't get an offer from agents or larger publishers, and there can be good reasons to go with a smaller house if you know what you're doing and it makes sense for a given book, but I'd still try to find representation before submitting. Among other things, agents help navigate which houses (and which editors at which houses) are which.
 

Filigree

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What I suspected.

If I were a querying goddess, it would not have taken me 8 years to write a mms and then a query that got more than formal rejections. I am a researcher by trade. And yes, I do this for every agency and publisher I'm seriously considering. I used to do that for publishers that struck me as truly horrid, but I don't anymore (for my own sanity among other reasons).
 
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Corri

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Great advice...totally agree. But I find that acquiring an agent is about as difficult as finding a publisher. I will make a more concerted effort. Thanks.
 

JetFueledCar

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Great advice...totally agree. But I find that acquiring an agent is about as difficult as finding a publisher. I will make a more concerted effort. Thanks.

Fortunately, you're in good company here. When you've reached 50 posts, you can start posting your queries (and excerpts from your MS) in the Share Your Work forum. (It's encouraged for at least part of those 50 posts to be critiquing other people in SYW.) You need a certain amount of thick skin (I suggest elephant hide when you start out), because the crit will be very blunt, but it's invaluable.

As far as the actual publisher goes, I take Filigree's word as law when it comes to whether a publisher should be avoided.
 

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Great advice...totally agree. But I find that acquiring an agent is about as difficult as finding a publisher. I will make a more concerted effort. Thanks.


Stay at it. Make sure your book is something that will make a publisher money, has a solid hook, and query agents who have sold similar books because they have the connections. Look up the writers of those books. They usually mention who their agent is on their websites.

And you START AT THE TOP and work your way down. By the time you hit the barrel scrapings of vanity houses, you should have another book finished and ready to shop.

Frank Herbert's Dune was rejected by 23 publishers. I got rejected by 25, so I beat him on that one.

I did not get an agent until after I'd scored a multi-book contract. I needed someone to negotiate the next deal and asked a writer friend for a reccie.

So stay at it, start at the top.
 

VeryBigBeard

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Great advice...totally agree. But I find that acquiring an agent is about as difficult as finding a publisher. I will make a more concerted effort. Thanks.

In a way, it is just as difficult, maybe even more so--there are loads of low-end publishers more desperate for anything readable than you'd think. (There are low-end agents, too.) The thing is, none of those places can actually sell your book.

If you have a good book, agents should be just as interested as publishers, if not more so--remember, they get paid when you do. Even with a great book, it can still require perseverance. Use the waiting time to write more, read more, maybe crit others (a very good way to increase your post count on AW), and keep learning. Even if that first book doesn't sell, you'll be better positioned to try again. Sometimes the second book even opens doors for the first.
 

Filigree

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And here's the heartbreaking thing most new writers don't get: getting the agent is only the start. Even if writer and agent stick together. (and they often don't), it can take years to sell to a decent publisher (if at all). Have backup plans.
 

VeryBigBeard

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And here's the heartbreaking thing most new writers don't get: getting the agent is only the start. Even if writer and agent stick together. (and they often don't), it can take years to sell to a decent publisher (if at all). Have backup plans.

Yep.

And, get this, you can have more than one agent. More than two, even. At the same time! They come in all shapes and sizes.

Some of the best post-publication advice I've seen on AW is in the Learn Writing With Uncle Jim thread. I always have a bit of trouble finding and linking stuff in there, but there's a great post about the spiral of publishing, and the ways in which the second book is harder than the first.
 

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Don't do that! I am one voice with one set of experiences. I can aggregate what others have reported, but I'm just as fallible as I was in 2009.

Let me rephrase: If you say to avoid a publisher, I take that very seriously. It does not always work the other way around--I know at least one case where I would have outright avoided someone you were at least "wait and see" about (though that was years ago and you may feel differently if a similar situation were to come up now).

In this case, I don't disagree with you at all. The "About Us" page is geared too much toward convincing writers they're the right publisher for them, instead of convincing readers that they publish books they want to read. The fact that the tab is titled "Major Book Publishing, Book Publishing in Florida" also doesn't inspire confidence, for all that the site is very pretty (though I note a couple of layout issues that make for poor readability in those places).

I'm with Night_Writer on this one.

ETA: Oh goodness, their home page is listed as "Book Publishing, Book Publishing in Florida." Methinks someone was trying to snag clueless writers who might be Googling any string of keywords that might get them a publisher, no? :rolleyes:
 
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Yep.

And, get this, you can have more than one agent. More than two, even. At the same time! They come in all shapes and sizes.

Some of the best post-publication advice I've seen on AW is in the Learn Writing With Uncle Jim thread. I always have a bit of trouble finding and linking stuff in there, but there's a great post about the spiral of publishing, and the ways in which the second book is harder than the first.
I am intrigued by your comment that you can have more than one agent. How is this possible?
 

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I am intrigued by your comment that you can have more than one agent. How is this possible?
Few/no agents represent every genre and market, so if you write in multiple genres (say, children's fantasy and hardboiled detective mysteries and medical non-fiction) you may need different agents to rep each one.
 
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VicBart

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Few/no agents represent every genre and market, so if you write in multiple genres (say, children's fantasy and hardboiled detective mysteries and medical non-fiction) you may need different agents to rep each one.
Thanks!
 

VeryBigBeard

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Also very common to have an agent for repping your work in different territories, or in different media (comics, screenwriting, etc.).

A lot of larger agencies will have sub-agents in other countries so it's not essential, and a lot of debuts end up selling world rights anyway, as the Big 5 have pretty much global reach and often want to exploit it (whether they should is a question your agent should know the answer to). But as authors' career develop in one way or another, agents add up.

Remember, agents work for the author. Not exclusively, but they are there to represent an author's interests, and they bring real expertise to the table. Thus, specialization.
 
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