There are lessons to be learned from any mistake. If you can learn them from the mistakes of others without suffering emotionally and financially yourself, that is a plus for you. I doubt those who are suffering from these mistakes would begrudge you learning from their pain.
How eager are you to be published? Do you burn to have something accepted? How far will you go to “make it”? There’s been so much out there lately about warning signs from publishers: poor editing, late payments, and other stuff. Sure, it’s a dream come true to get published, but do you want that at any cost? Or are you willing to pay your dues and learn more about the craft, do your homework about the places you submit your work to, and perhaps shelve your dream for just a little while until your work is good enough for a worthy publisher to take?
If any of my words hit home with you today, read these articles and the comments. The pain these authors suffered will not be in vain if you and I and others learn from their mistakes. The last link has advice and info for those who are or have been caught in the crossfire of bad pubs.
If you take away anything from these links and posts, you should take away the knowledge that your desperation to be published is chum for sharks so you’re better off learning patience now and saving your limbs (your manuscripts) from the razor sharp jaws of the unscrupulous.
That bit above was an article type post that I wrote and posted to some Yahoo groups this morning. It was a news-style commentary on what’s been going on in this industry. From a personal perspective, as a relatively new author on the epub scene, my next words to you are not much different.
I went at this “getting pubbed” thing full bore late in August 2008. Yes, only last year. However, no matter how driven I was, I had the patience to be cautious where I subbed my work. I waited an entire 6 months for Cobblestone to give me thumbs up for The Pixie Prince. I wanted to be pubbed, but I was not so desperate for it that I sent my work to places that didn’t strike me as completely on the up and up. If the pub pinged my beware-dar, I steered clear.
I had been encouraged to submit my work to a new epub by some people who were very enthused about them. When I started digging into the stories and articles about them, my beware-dar went off. I read things that told me I would not be comfortable sending them my work. So I didn’t. Had I been desperate to be pubbed I probably would have. But I’d been looking around and listening to authors I knew who were at places like Liquid Silver and Cobblestone and EC. I gave this new epub a wide berth for several reasons and I am glad I did.
I went with Pink Petal Books for a reason too. Mary is a very solid author who has been with a lot of pubs. She has a sound business model, is very ethical, and a hard worker. Yes, PPB is a newer pub, but Mary isn’t cramming it down everyone’s throat in a big media blitz of “Oooh, lookit me! I’m the next big thing!” She has been careful and methodical about her company’s growth. She takes care of her authors, encouraging them and nurturing them. She was just as happy for me that I got that Cobblestone contract as she was to receive Fire Season’s first draft in her email. She cares about the people who trust her enough to send her their babies. THAT is the kind of small pub I don’t mind giving my work to.
Yes, I’m on a mission toward the big houses (Loose ID and Samhain), but I will always give PPB my work too. The owner has earned my respect, loyalty, and friendship. I can count on her and in this industry that is something seemingly harder and harder to find.
Please pass this post and these links to any authors and would be authors you feel would benefit from it.