How to Choose the Right Publisher for You

Although writing a coherent, book-length manuscript is a difficult undertaking, all authors are familiar with the labor that goes into it. But for far too many aspiring writers, it is a mystery what to do with the work once it is finished. This does not need to be the case.

What do you hope to accomplish by publishing your work? is a critical question to ask yourself before approaching a publisher. 

Is it your goal to have your book on the shelves of bookshops all over the country and to have it published by a reputable imprint? Are you planning to create a professional-caliber book of your poems to give to relatives and friends? 

The criteria for these two extremes of the spectrum, as well as everything in between, are highly different, so whatever your goal, you must be brutally honest with yourself.

Traditional publishing, self-publishing, and subsidised publishing are the three ways to get your book published.

Customary Printing 

Publishers were bombarded with unsolicited submissions as a result of advancements in computer and printer technology eliminating the obstacles associated with manuscript preparation that earlier generations encountered. 

They assigned the task to literary agents rather than employing more readers to sort through the piles of slush. 

Publishers saw no reason to handle the slush pile themselves because agents were only paid a small percentage of their customers’ sales. 

The majority of the major publishing houses now strictly enforce the rule that they won’t read anything that is “unagented.” 

Find a literary agency willing to represent you if you want to get published by a well-known New York City publisher like Random House or Simon & Schuster. 

The first gatekeepers on the path to publication with big publishing houses are literary agents, who screen optimistic manuscripts in search of marketable authors.

POD printers might produce a lot fewer books than conventional presses. The books are digitally fed into the POD computers and produced similarly to how numerous texts’ pages would print continuously on a home laser printer. 

The following book in line can be printed right away when the previous book has finished its run, whether it was a thousand-book run or just one copy. 

This strategy enables tiny printers to carry multiple titles without maintaining large inventory and to order smaller print runs with fewer overages, preventing their profit margins from soaring.


If you want to showcase your writing in a beautifully bound book that you can give to family and friends, self-publishing is an option to think about. 

You won’t need to go through a drawn-out screening procedure, and no marketing requirements will apply to you. 

As all sales proceeds go directly to the author under this option, it offers better income potential for those who are exceptional marketers. 

The “publisher” in this case is really a “printer.” Whatever you submit them will be published as long as you pay for it.

When he first started out, “self-publishing” meant mimeographing handbills in his basement. Nowadays, the majority of self-published books are as good as those written in New York City. 

There are, of course, exceptions, which is why you should always become acquainted with the previous titles published by a press before entering into a contract with them. 

If your name appeared on the cover, get a sample copy, hold it in your hand, and think about whether you’d be happy to show it to your friends.

Although POD technology is employed in the majority of self-published publications, “Print on Demand” and “self-publishing” are two different things (also known as vanity presses). 

While many self-publishing outfits outsource the printing and binding to a printer, some do it wholly on-site. 

Some will also offer fulfillment services, such as processing customer orders, sending the book when ordered, and having printed copies of your book on hand. Each additional service has a fee.

Published at a Discount

Small traditional publishers and self-publishers have elements of both in a subsidized publisher. 

Like conventional publishers, subsidy publishers evaluate applications following a submission process. 

Yet, after a manuscript is approved, they demand that the author cover the cost of the book’s printing. 

They resume their typical publishing duties after the bill has been paid, editing, promoting, and distributing the book under their own name and paying the author a royalty on all sales.

By agreeing to support a work it thinks in exchange for the author incurring some of the initial costs, this kind of publisher is in effect forming a partnership with the author. 

The main benefit of using this strategy is that you get the reputation and distribution power of a well-known imprint. 

While businesses depend on book sales to generate a profit, subsidy publishers also have a tendency to pay more attention to their authors and invest more time in marketing initiatives. 

The amount you pay in advance only defrays the cost of publishing the book. By letting you pay for the printing, they lower their risk and have more freedom to choose work that interests them.

Getting in Touch with the Publisher

You can use The Writer’s Market or a similar resource to find a publisher that’s a good fit for your work once you’ve decided what “type” of publisher is appropriate for you. Because bad publishers will spoil your work instantly.

You may also conduct an online search for the authors and publishers of books that are of a comparable scope to your own and scour the bookshop for them. 

They will include contact information and submission guidelines on their websites. Don’t stray from these guidelines. 

The pet peeve of one publisher could be the pet peeve of another. While some exclusively accept work via email, others like manuscripts sent via the mail. 

While some allow concurrent submissions, others demand exclusivity. You’ll save money, time, and sanity by adhering to their submission guidelines.

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