Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Double Standards by Teresa Kennedy

You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there.
- Yogi Berra

     Publishing puts you in touch with all kinds of interesting people, but never so much or so many as when you advertise that you are seeking novel-length submissions.

    Call it a sign of the times, but in the past few days, Village Green’s website has received a number of queries, almost none of which would be considered appropriate were we a more traditional venue. I get queries that demand references before I even see their book; I am asked whether we have ever infringed on an author’s copyright and I even had one note insist that no “reputable” publisher would charge for editorial or promotional services.

    Babes in the woods, poor dears.

    As a niche publisher and something of a hybrid in an ever-changing industry, we offer a full range of services both for those wishing to self-publish (whether electronically, or in print) and those wishing to pursue more traditional publishing outlets. Those services include development and editorial; design services, pre and post publication support, agent and submissions help, book reviews and publicity services.

In addition, we are also seeking to build a select list of titles for our own catalog. But just because a book isn’t right for our list doesn’t mean it can’t find success elsewhere.

    The interesting thing about many of the queries we get lately, is that they all seem to be informed by an overriding suspicion that as a relatively new company and an industry hybrid there is something inherently suspect about us. That we charge reasonable and entirely appropriate fees for our services seems to make us doubly so.

    We started this company with one mission—that was to see deserving authors published. As a 30 year veteran of this industry, both as an author and editor, when a former editorial client invited me in, I began the venture with eyes wide open. I’m not going to get rich at this; I’m not going to get famous, and it’s going to take time.

    Part of the illusion that pervades the unpublished author community these days is that those realities just don’t apply. Further, any and all publishers must now somehow justify their existence, as though we were all just one more evil corporation waiting to abuse the unsuspecting.

    And yet I ask you, if you were trying to get your book published with Doubleday or Random House, would you insist on seeing your editor’s resume before you made changes? If an agent recommended further editorial help before taking you on, would you consider them a rip-off? When you call a cab to get you to your destination, do you demand the cabbie produce his license to drive?

    Look, I know this isn’t an easy business, but that’s no reason to approach a prospective publisher with a chip on your shoulder. That’s one sure way to get nowhere.

    Whether writing is your passion, your art or your hobby, in the end publishing is a business. Businesses make money, and sometimes the best money is an investment in yourself.

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