Friday, July 22, 2011

Whoring Around Publishing Town: Should You Give a Start-Up a Chance?

I don't know what kind of excuses I can make for myself. Unsettled? Unsatisfied? Ants in the pants? Always wanting more, more, more?

Lately, I've been looking at new publishers. In fact, I've gone beyond looking and I've actually submitted to a few. Why do it? I already work with quite a few different publishers, and I'm pretty damn fulfilled by what they have to offer. So why stray? Well, I'm pretty prolific, especially with short stories, and I wouldn't want to overload any one publisher, but that's just a surface reason.

I guess, ultimately, I like to see what a new publisher has to offer. I like to get in on the ground level and see how things go. With this plan (if it can be called a plan) I've had good luck and bad luck. Getting on board with Selena Kitt and eXcessica Publishing was most fortuitous, and I've been very happy there. That's where I've placed books like Ondine, Audrey & Lawrence, The Birthday Gift, Future Histories, and other works your run-of-the-mill erotic romance publisher probably wouldn't have looked at.

I can think of another publishing house, whose name I will politely decline to mention here, I wish I'd never signed with--terrible marketing, the worst distribution I've ever encountered, and without a word of a lie, I haven't earned back the postage it cost me to mail in my contracts on two of the stories I placed there...which was around $2.50 apiece. Not just that, but customers have complained to me about the rude and belligerent "customer service" they've received when attempting to purchase from the publisher's website, and there's not much I can say because I as an author am treated just as badly. Live and learn.

Most recently, I've placed my ebook Goose Girl with New Dawning Bookfair. I was drawn there because I know Dee from eXcessica and I had a manuscript that suited their Twisted Tales line of erotic fairy tale adaptations. All I know so far is that Dee is a brilliant marketing strategist and the editing is superb.

Around the same time, I answered a call for submissions at Secret Cravings Publishing. They were seeking Cougar stories, so I wrote Callie and the Hipsters (upcoming release), a MMF menage novella about a woman whose husband leaves her for the young woman he empregnated (I love family drama) and so she hooks up with two of her son's pansexual polyamorous hipster buddies. I figure I'm enough of a Hipster Doofus (though I probably should have aged out of the club by now) to poke fun at myself.

On my to do list, I've got notes to submit to other new or new-to-me publishers, but it becomes a dance of submit-what-where? You're taking a chance, submitting your work into hands you don't yet know, but the pay-off can be great. On the flip side, you could end up with feeble sales and asshole associates. Beyond consulting Piers Anthony's site, and preditors & editors, and others, it's really hard to know what you're getting yourself into, particularly when the company is a start-up and nobody has much experience with them yet.

So, authors, how do you feel about submitting to start-ups? Are you afraid they're going to crash and burn? Or do you figure an older publisher could screw you over just as badly (as we've seen a few I won't mention do to their authors lately)?

Give me feedback. Tell me what you think!


  1. Great Blog. I have a list of no's and yesses as well. I'm with 3 great newbies. XOXO, Rebel Ink, and Naughty Nights Press. All of them I equally love and are very satisfied!

    S.Lira aka MichaelM/Rawiya/BL