E-Publishing Tips – Submitting Your Manuscript the Right Way
With the last feature I wrote on e-Publishing a couple of questions came up a number of times. These questions came up both in the comments of the last article, and in my inbox. As always we’re here to help, and today we are answering your questions. The questions were:
Do you know of an e-Publisher that will publish poetry anthologies?
What should I do to get my manuscript ready to submit?
David Barber referred me to All Things that Matter Press as one e-Publisher that puts out great poetry eBooks (they do a lot more than that, but we’ll get to that). Phil, the CEO from All Things that Matter, was kind enough to answer my questions so that I could share his insight and answer the other question for you.
My original intention when I interviewed Phil was to use the information he provided me to create an article on the topic. In this case though, his answers are very well written, and I don’t think I could possibly say it any better than he did himself. With that said here are the results of my query with All Things that Matter Press.
The email Interview with Phil from All Things that Matter Press:
What is All Things That Matters Press, and what types of work do you publish?
ALL THINGS THAT MATTER PRESS is a new, small press. Our goal is to help authors, new and established, get their books published and into the marketplace. There are no fees or costs to the author. We look primarily for authors with a ‘message’ who have something they would like to say to the reading public. We are pretty much open on genre, and we have published poetry, science fiction, young adult, non-fiction, and even a romance. We do not want to see ‘formula’ type books or those that are just for mindless mass appeal. If the author has something really important to say about the world we all inhabit, we will take a look. We do not do children’s books, books with a strong religious bias (Christian lit), chick lit, or any books that promote violence, hatred or pornography. We really like spiritual self-growth/transformation titles and those stories (including poetry) that reach out to the soul and touch the heart.
What do you look for the most when a new author submits a manuscript to you for publishing?
What impresses us the most is if the author seems really excited about their book. Even if the manuscript is submitted elsewhere, they have taken the time to gear their letter to us. It is not that we want the author to tell us how great their book may be, but rather they present a tone that says “I have something really important to say to the world and I have done my best to put it into words.” It is also crucial that the author follows the submission guidelines and appears to have read our web site. A turn off is when someone asks questions that are ‘clearly’ posted on our web page. We also have received emails that start out saying something like, “Before I send my manuscript you need to answer these questions.” Well, while we do not at all mind answering questions, an attitude that our press may not be worthy of their submission is not the best way to start. So if an author sends a submission that shows excitement and clearly demonstrates they are attuned to who we are as a publisher, the door opens a bit wider.
What are your suggestions to those new authors when preparing their manuscript for submission?
You would be amazed at how many authors have not even done a simple spelling and grammar check. I saw a post on a web site where they were all upset that we wanted the manuscript to be edited prior to submission. Go to any publisher’s site and count the times you see the word “edit.” Go to any book marketing site or read any article on how to submit a manuscript; lack of ‘editing’ is top on the list of major mistakes that an author makes. We even get queries with typos. If an author does not take the time to do editing of their own work then any publisher will question that author’s commitment to their project. Does this mean that the ms must be perfect? No. We edit all books that we publish for both mechanics and content (consistency, time lines, etc.). No editing is perfect as there are many way to say the same thing, and even grammar is not really an exact science. We always send a ‘redlined’ edit to the author for review and approval. Finally, it is important that a submission be sent in the format required by the publisher. Each publisher is different so if the author has not made the effort to follow simple submission formats they are not starting off on the right foot.
What do you look for in a query letter?
No errors and a sincere desire to get the book published. We need to know that the author ‘backs’ the book and that once published, they will not just sit back and hopes it sells. For both large and small presses, the author is the key to the books success. The work really begins once the title is in print and authors that appear aware of this fact stand a better chance of having their manuscript reviewed.
What percentage of manuscripts do you accept (approximately), and how many get rejected (and for what reasons)?
As a new publisher we do not have a solid set of numbers on this issue. At this point it is running at about a one third rejection rate. Reasons for rejection have included:
What would you describe as the single most important element to getting accepted, and ultimately getting published with your company?
Aside from being passionate about the book and writing, potential ALL THINGS THAT MATTER PRESS authors need to know what we are about. We see the internet as the future of publishing and promoting. Read any of the trade literature and it is clear that from Random House to small presses, from chain retailers to the corner bookstore, publishing is changing. Book sale are way down, there are store and publisher layoffs, and many independent bookstores are closing. While this is bad news, what it really means is that there are new opportunities open to market books. There have been titles that have hit the NY Times bestseller list without ever being in a ‘brick and mortar’ store. All the sales have been on-line. To us, this is the future of publishing and marketing. So if we think that the author understands that they will have to have a web site, participate in social networking, blog, and to generally be ‘out there’ on the internet, they stand a much greater chance of being accepted. If an author’s primary concern is will they be in a Barnes & Noble bookstore, they would be better off seeking another publisher.
I'VE BEEN OFFERED A CONTRACT, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Once you have been offered and have accepted the contract, your book will go through the following process:
1-Your book goes through an editing process. A red lined edit is sent to the author for approval. Most editing is spelling/punctuation/grammar. The only time a suggested content comment is made is if something just does not make sense. It is then up to the author to make the change.
2-Once any changes and corrections are made, we create a pdf. mock-up. This galley is sent back to the author for final review and to correct last minute mistakes. Once approved, the galley is sent to Amazon to generate a proof copy-an actual book. We review the prof copy and if it is accurate, the book gets published.
3-During the review and edit process, the cover is designed. Authors are invited to submit ideas and even cover photos or artwork. While we maintain final approval over the cover, we want to ensure that the cover is acceptable to the author.
WHO MARKETS THE BOOK?
The author is pivotal to the success of the book. Every publisher, small and large, requires that the author take an active role in marketing. We have posted many blogs on this topic and have provided links to many marketing tools and sites. ATTMP does what it can to promote your book, but if you are not prepared to work for your own success, do not submit your book.
WHAT IS THE BREAKDOWN OF ROYALTY PAYMENTS?
THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXAMPLE ONLY
$10.90(this includes printer)
The author receives 40% of the royalty listed above. Books sold through ATTMPress E-STORE generate greater royalty for everyone.
The above numbers are an example only and will vary with page count as there is a price per page from the printer.
The E-Store is a page generated by Amazon for use by the publisher. Books bought through the E-Store on the ATTMP web site generate higher royalties.
ARE WE A VANITY/SELF-PUBLISHING
NO-We charge the authors nothing. The entire process from editing to book covers is done at our expense.
DOES ATTMPress HELP AUTHORS
MARKET THEIR BOOKS?
As a small press we do the best we can to assist authors in marketing, but most of our efforts are aimed at promoting the publishing brand. However, in our promotions we often feature author books in things like videos and holiday promotions. Of course we announce each new title on our blog and throughout our social network contacts. We also have a very unique, ATTMPress author only, MARKETING GROUP. Here, authors work together to cross promote and share each others news and social media posts. The group is also the place we post files and articles pertaining to effective author marketing strategies. We periodically have GIVEAWAYS, BLOG TOURS, and promote our titles in special listings on social media.
Another unique offer for our authors only is our SHORTS PROGRAM. This is where authors get to publish their short stories and various holiday/seasonal shorts as a way to keep their name before readers, often in-between the preparation of new full-length titles.