When do I contact a publisher?

We get this all of the time. “When do I contact a publisher?” , and “When do I contact a publicist?” My answer? Yesterday.  The following are a couple of pointers.

“I have an idea.” OK. So you don’t have a book yet … no problemo. Bounce your idea off of a publishing company/literary publicist and go from there. Research and see if your idea has already been printed. Start writing or hire a “Ghost Writer”. This means you get interviewed for content and the story is written for you. Obviously, you approve of content and it is in your voice.

“I am just starting.”  This is the perfect time to start shopping publishers. Many publishers  just want a table of contents and a chapter to see your writing ability. You need to do your research  period, and especially if you are on a deadline. If you are on a deadline they can provide a timeline and even provide a book coach to keep you on track. Also, they can edit chapter by chapter so you do not have to wait for your manuscript to be complete before you send it in or print it.

“I have a book … now what?”  Many traditional publishing companies will require you to sign a contract for 3K – 5K per month for PR. And, if your books do not sell you have to buy them back and foot the publicist bill. Yuck, right? Shop PR too. You can hire a boutique firm for much less. Also, when interviewing publicists ask for coverage reports and genre. Do you want to hire a tech publicist when you need a book specialist? No.

My point? It is never to early in the process to ask questions and do not wait for your product to be complete. That will equate rushed decisions and a negative R.O.I.


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