Ask, know

Authors and would-be authors, I just want to take a moment to reinforce my suggestion to GOOGLE the publisher you’re thinking of working with. You need to know everything about them that you possibly can before you submit your work to them for consideration.

Are there blogs warning you off a publisher? And do those blogs present FACTS? Any fruit loop in the world can slap hateful words on a blog to try to steer business away from a rival, but if those words aren’t backed up by FACTS, like years worth of testimonials from authors that have been scammed, then take it with a grain of salt. If, on the other hand, a blog can prove every word they say about a scam publisher, then you know to give them a wide berth.

Even if everything you find online seems kosher, ASK QUESTIONS. There are some things GOOGLE won’t show you. A company can look clean on paper, but still not quite be prepared to handle your work. So ask questions, and don’t be shy. All too often, authors are too timid,  too worried about offending the company. Don’t be. If they’re professionals, they won’t mind. It’s business. It’s not personal.

What, EXACTLY, is going to happen with your work?
Who’s going to be handling it?
What editorial services will your work get?
What is the EXACT timeline for your book?
How will you get paid? When will you get paid?
Will you get copies of your book? How many?
How will it be promoted?
Ask any question you can think of, even if it seems stupid. When it comes to your work, there’s no such thing as a stupid question.

A professional company will have the answers to any questions you’ve got, and they won’t mind giving them to you. Like I said, we’re talking about business, here.

If you don’t get answers, or if the answers you get don’t add up, don’t do it.  Period.

Don’t waffle. Don’t consider giving them the benefit of the doubt because they seem nice. Nice doesn’t sell books. Promotion does. Professionalism does.

Don’t just go ahead and publish something just because you’re eager to see your name in print. Don’t think “It’s just a short story,” if you’re considering adding a contribution to a collection or anthology. It’s NOT “just” a short story. It’s work with your name on it. It’s your career. It’s your name. It’s your reputation. Guard each and every aspect of it carefully. Don’t settle. Don’t guess. Don’t hope.

Be sure or don’t do it.

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