Publishing is the goal for any writer. After all, why write if no one is going to read it? Unfortunately, there are a lot of people and businesses out there who prey upon the uninformed. It’s hard to know who to trust and who has our best interests in mind, especially when the golden apple of publication is dangling in front of us. Here are a few red flags to look for when looking at your publishing options.
Publishing with an Agent
First, let’s talk agents. Writers should never pay an agent for representation. If signed with an agent, they get money when you get money. Saying that, an agent may have some requirements for an agent before signing. A requirement may be getting a developmental edit of your manuscript, especially if it hasn’t had one yet. Don’t be surprised if you are asked that.
Hybrid publishers mean they offer both traditional and self publishing options. Traditional publishing for a lot of authors is still that gold star standard. With hybrid publishers, however, watch what they’re asking of you. Some may offer you a percentage of royalty only after x amount of books have been sold. That means whether you realize it or not, you’re paying them for their representation. When considering any kind of traditional publisher, take a look at their marketing plan. Reach out to other authors who have published with them to get their feedback. Don’t let the lure of traditional publishing blind you to potential issues down the road. In the same vein, ask who they’re connected with. If they’re small, they might not have any different a reach than if you were to strike out on your own.
If you’re looking toward publication and unsure of whether you should self publish or traditionally publish, I have a resource that provides more insight as well as a small quiz that will give clarity on next steps.