Monday, November 17, 2014


You’ve signed your first contract. Celebrate, then come out of the clouds and start working to publish and market that book. Maintaining a positive relationship between an author and the publisher(s) will make that job easier for both. Being under contract with multiple publishers makes the relationships a bit more complicated. In my opinion, the burden of multiple publishers should be on the author who decided to enter into multiple contracts. As stated in previous posts, this post relates to e-publishers of romance.

Introducing yourself. When an author writes a query letter for a submission, (s)he should have done their homework. The submission should address an expressed need of the publisher. Don’t waste your time or the publisher’s by submitting your manuscript to a publisher who doesn’t want it because of genre, content, or length. After introducing your story, share your writing credentials – writing history, publishing history, and related info. Don’t give a family history.

Publishers don’t expect authors to write solely for them. Having a contractual agreement to submit books in a series or to write exclusively for a publisher, however, changes the picture. Those circumstances aside, it’s important to share your publishing credentials with a new publisher. It shows that you are capable of completing the publication process.

I’m happily contracted with four publishers. When I wrote the query letter to #4, I included that I was actively published with three publishers and assured them I would be able to complete my editing and marketing responsibilities since I don’t have a “day job.”

Simultaneous submissions. When some authors complete a manuscript, they send it to several publishers at the same time. Simultaneous submissions might get a quicker response from a publisher but can also waste their time, especially when the author doesn’t withdraw the submission after it is contracted. Publisher statements on their submission page state their policy related to simultaneous—follow them. Note: I don’t do simultaneous submissions. I write a story with a publisher in mind using their style requirements and wait.

Post-contract responsibilities. After the contract is signed, attention shifts to editing, publication, and marketing. There are additional considerations for authors published with more than one publisher. Depending on the publisher, the contract to publication time varies from a few months to almost a year.

Meet your deadlines. Publishers have clear deadlines for the overall publication process. Authors must meet deadlines, if they want to contract for additional books. Immediately acknowledge by return email when anything has been received. Note: My goal is a 48 hour turnaround for most requests—even if I have to set my writing aside. If I see an edit will take longer, I notify the editor and give them an anticipated date.

Marketing. Marketing in e-publishing is generally the responsibility of the author. When a publisher does sponsor a marketing opportunity, ALWAYS participate to support your publisher. I focus on after-release marketing with visits to other authors, reviews and review sites, blogs at marketing websites, posts at Yahoo Groups, blog-hops, as well as my own webpage and social media. Authors should NEVER use one publisher’s resources to advertise another publishers’ books.

Flexibility. Things don’t always go the way publishers or authors would like. Flexibility with edits, releases, and marketing is important.  Don’t, however, commit to something you can’t do.

Caveats. Again, don’t commit to something you can’t do. Plan your writing around anticipated edits and release dates that will require marketing.  Also, most publishers maintain a private chat group for their authors which is confidential. Never carry tales among your groups or publishers. Finally, enjoy the writing experience. Don’t do more than you can comfortably manage, regardless of whether you have a “day job.”  

Next Month, Writing a Holiday Story



Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I agree that submitting simultaneously to more than one publisher is a setup for trouble. It sets them up to be in a hurry, and it gives you the submitter a problem if you prefer one over the other and they don’t respond in that order. First come first served has to be the writer’s rule.

I stopped doing it because I had a face-to-face relationship with a magazine editor here in FL. He was late getting back to me, and a California magazine took my article. The FL editor was hurt but not insulted. However, his wife, the co-owner, was incensed, and that ended the previously good relationship.

I learned later I could have published in both states because neither magazine had a national following, and were far apart. We live and learn. This duel ownership would not apply to the book market.

Rita Bay said...

Thanks for sharing, Julie. I don't do simultaneous because you are so right about the stress. I pretty much target a book for a publisher because most are pretty clear about what they want.

Big Mike said...

Multiple edits can drive ya crazy, each with their own style and pet peeves.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)