Home > publishing > Deciding On Your Five Markets?

Deciding On Your Five Markets?

I said that one of the things I do to ensure I get paid for my work is to identify five prospective markets for my work right up front. I try to do that before I start writing, and then I finalize the list once I see how the story ended. There are lots of reasons you might change your mind about how suitable a market is – length, smut quotient, etc. Even the stories that start out as general fiction seem to go smutty with me. That’s why I stopped fighting the sex and started submitting it. Anyway.

When you identify your markets, look them up in two places before you start formatting according to the market’s guidelines.

Bewares and Background Checks (specifically, look here in the index)

Piers Anthony’s Internet Publishing

The latter is of course entirely epub, but if you’re not looking to ride the coming digital wave, well, why aren’t you?

I say do this before formatting, only because I once did up a manuscript in an ugly font with bizarre margins, fixed all the chapter breaks, and then I looked it up and realized I was about to submit to someone who’d been sued for nonpayment of royalties. There’s an hour I’ll never get back.

I also mention these helpful links because I keep seeing these little spats here in Authorland about who is and who isn’t signed with a vanity press/author mill/publisher teetering on bankruptcy. Don’t argue about it – look it up. Preferably before you sign away your rights.

As a side note, when I see someone (who invariably cannot write) raging about how Deadbeat Press X is actually this really wonderful place that REALLY CARES about their authors, I make a mental note to strike that publisher from my list of potential options.

We’re supposed to be writers. Posting and blogging are forms of writing. Typos and other kinds of first draft slop are one thing, but I cast a gimlet eye at those unable to maintain a thought for an entire paragraph without changing subjects and verb tenses. I believe that sort of thing is a hint that the writer of the post isn’t ready for professional publication. Anyone who said he *is* ready is a scammer, or at minimum a publisher I’d be ashamed to be seen with in public.

Readers will judge our books based on the company they keep, especially romance and erotica. Try this – go to a message board forum where readers hang out, not other writers. Ask them how often they buy from various publishers. Be sure to include the name of Deadbeat Press X. You will hear in blunt language that they never even look at Deadbeat Press X, because the stuff there is all poorly written, half edited crap.

Being an unpublished writer is better than being “published ugly.”

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