I mentioned in an earlier post that I’ve been considering using CreateSpace to self-publish my zombie novel. I’ve been reconsidering that stance lately for a few reasons. One is that as it turns out you have to jump some hoops if you’re a Canadian because CreateSpace claims tax for the IRS. Another reason is that it just plain seems like a more impressive accomplishment to be published by an actual publishing company. It’s like being accepted to university…you feel somehow better about yourself than if you’d just decided to take one of those online “become _____ in only _____ weeks!” courses.
But here’s the thing…I’ve been looking into how you submit a manuscript. I’ve been looking into it in depth. And my head seriously feels like it may explode. It’s not that submitting a manuscript is, in theory, that complicated. The problem is that the publishers make it complicated by each having their own set of rules and regulations. Some want the manuscript emailed in a Word document format, others want it printed and mailed to them. Some want the full, completed manuscript while others just want a synopsis and an excerpt. Some don’t allow you to submit to anyone else while they’re looking at your manuscript (this is one I can’t stand) while others couldn’t care less. Some are only looking to do print books, some are only looking to do ebooks, some are looking to do both, and they all have their own rules about what you can do regarding the formats they don’t plan to use. And they all seem to have their own version of how the manuscript and your query letter should be formatted, and they have the right to basically throw your manuscript away if you haven’t formatted it properly.
For example, one publisher I’m looking at that deals in a lot of horror stories wants the manuscript emailed, in full, in a Word document, double spaced, justified format, with a particular type of title page and author info page. They don’t care if you submit to other publishers at the same time. They’re only looking to print in ebook format and don’t care if you want to use another venue to do print books. They estimate 30 days to get back to you on whether or not they’re interested.
Another publisher I’m looking at wants the manuscript printed and mailed to them. They have their own formatting rules that are different from the publisher above. They only allow you to submit to them, and if they find out you’ve submitted to someone else at the same time, your manuscript is automatically tossed out. They’re only looking to do print books, but they don’t allow you to do ebook format with another venue while you’re under contract with them. They estimate 90 days to get back to on whether or not they’re interested.
Now, looking at those two publishers, you’d think the first one is the more attractive-looking one. They get back to you quicker, allow you more freedoms, etc. But here’s the caveat….they pay a lot less. Their estimate for an advance and royalties is considerably less than the second publisher. So then you have to try and decide, would you rather have a better chance of getting published, or have a better chance of actually making some money when you get published?
It’s a surprisingly difficult decision. Yes, just getting published is more important to me, but it’s also hard to look at the differences in possible monetary compensation and feel good about choosing the lesser. It’s no different than any other job…you want to have some fun and freedom in your workplace, but a higher paycheck definitely makes it easier to deal with a little bull, if you know what I mean.
So now that I’ve done a bunch of research, read a ton of submission guidelines, and made my head thoroughly angry at me, I believe I’ve come to a very important conclusion about how to publish my book.
That is: “Stop worrying about the publishing details until you finish the damn thing already!“
Good advice, me. Good advice.