How long should you send out enquiries or inquiries before resolving to self publish?
I read an article in a magazine while awaiting to attend business. I hadn’t thought about the question but the writer made some vital points. I tried to find the article online but I guess the magazine company must not have it online yet. So I’ll try to summarize it.
They said it depends on many different factors: You, and what are your goals for your work. It can also depend on what your topic. If you wrote a book on the current hot topic I wouldn’t recommend spending 5-10-15-20 years sending out inquiries to agents and publishing companies. Why? Because the interest in your subject may have dwarfed in 5-10-15-20 years and readers have moved on to the next popular trend.
But do send them. You never know who might be interested and accept your work but bear in mind that each company has different requirements and formats and fonts. Everyone doesn’t want Roman Times nor Chicago Standard. Read each site’s submission instruction carefully. Don’t do a one-for-all blurb for every submission. Some want the first ten to fifty pages of the book while others may only want a one page summary.
According to the author of the article, it all boils down to if you’re looking to make a substantial living from writing and has the time, money and stamina to wait 5-10-15-20 years then keep sending them. But still then, if you land a contract there’s no guarantee you will make a living writing. Yes, the cost can really add up when you consider some company do not accept PDF. They want a live copy and some even want the manuscript in a draft book form. What’s that? It when you have your book printed up and submit it in a book form instead of a raw manuscript. That can easily run as high as 50-1,000. Depending on who you use.
Postage and return postage if you it certified mail depending on the size of the book can turn into a hefty price. (Yes, you have to pay your own postage if you want your work back.)
Paying for art work or book covers can run anywhere from 25-2,500. Yes, there are covering that can literally break the bank. I just happened to stumbled up an artist who was in Greenwich village at the height of glory and made her like me by begging her. Normally her work goes for thousands.
But like I said there’s still no guarantee you’ll get a return on your investment. A stellar cover may allure readers once but it the contents that hold them. When they crack the book open that’s when what really matters begin.
Hiring a typist (if needed), proofreader, and editor for the work before sending it out is another major expense.
The hundreds of hours spent preparing these things for often time nothing more than a rejection letter can be discouraging…if you get that. Some publisher houses say nothing after 6 months. They leave you hanging and wondering. They get thousands of manuscripts per year. But this is where an agent works to push yours’ forward. It has nothing to do with if your book is good or bad. It’s all about if money can be made from it.
Agents can be equally as tasking to find as a publisher accepting your work. Some will encourage you to change your work to match whatever is selling at the moment. It all boils down to money. They’re a business and if your work doesn’t sell then they make no money.
But with stigma of self-publishing nearly dead and you want to see your work in print before you die. I say go for it. You can save yourself a lot of money.
I find that publishers are more likely to accept a series than a single book.
Most people doesn’t realize how costly it is to sent out 200-300 enquiries but the cost can really add up to a couple of thousands with just one book.
What the self publishing industry realized is that everyone doesn’t have 5-10-15-20 years to wait. But like I said, do whatever works best for you.