How to Be an Author Publishers Want to Work With, Part Two
August 23, 2011 Leave a comment
Yesterday, we offered some great pointers for aspiring published authors…but there’s more where that came from! Here are three more bits of advice. Best of luck!
4. Do not, under any circumstances, call or drop in at the office of an agent or a publishing company to speak with an employee about getting your book acquired. Agents and publishing companies are not like bookstores, where you can expect to walk in and get your questions answered; they are business offices like any other. You wouldn’t walk into your doctor’s office without an appointment, and you would understand why your doctor also can’t diagnose you over the phone (for many reasons). Most companies have just enough employees to keep things rolling smoothly, and no one has a professional dedicated to talking to you about your unsolicited submission. Send your proposal as the publisher instructs, and if they’re interested, they’ll be in touch with a real contact name and real phone number.
5. Understand the difference between showing initiative and being rude. Don’t call the front desk of a publisher and pretend you’re returning a call from an interested editor; the office staff has heard it all and they know what you’re up to. If you choose to play games like that, you’ve instantly become someone most publishers won’t want to work with. And it’s a small industry—bad behavior gets discussed among publishing professionals and you can be blackballed before you’ve even made contact with other publishing companies. (Don’t believe us? Start reading agent blogs.)
6. Find an agent. (And we don’t mean someone who you pay before your book gets signed—that’s supershady and not how legit agents work.) Many big houses don’t accept unsolicited or unrepresented book proposals; they want to know that at least one person other than the author stands behind the proposal and that there’s been some level of professional vetting. If you could see how many manuscripts come through the slush pile (and the quality of those manuscripts), you’d understand why.