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Questions to ask an author about a publisher?

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Chacounne

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,
Chacounne
 

DaveKuzminski

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.
 

Chacounne

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

Thanks,
Chacounne
 

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.
 

Chacounne

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.

Blushing,
Chacounne
 

JennaGlatzer

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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.
 

victoriastrauss

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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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