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Oh, man. Today we open a
It can be hard to decide if a small publisher is legit. Brand new publishers don’t have a track record, but may be entirely a class operation. Long-time small publishers might turn out to be a bit of a con.
How to tell?
I’ve been thinking about this problem for a while, so I’d like to start the conversation with…
WAYS TO CHECK IF A SMALL PUBLISHER IS LEGIT
- Start with the publisher’s website. Is it professional looking? Does it work? Easily? Is it set up to showcase the authors’ books? Have any of their books won awards? Real ones, that is.
- Google the publisher to see if there’s any general buzz in Publishers Weekly or other publications. Who are the editors and what is their experience?
- Go to Amazon and look at the books. Is there more than one author? Importantly, are the authors’ and illustrators’ last names different from the publisher’s and editors’ last names? If the names match, then you may be looking at a vanity press masquerading as a going concern. Check the books’ rankings. Look inside, if you can, to see if the writing seems up to par.
- Check the book covers. Are they professional? Yeah, you know what’s professional. Not a creative commons photo or a pencil drawing done by a twelve-year-old.
- Look for reviews. Amazon and Goodreads are a start, but look for reviews in magazines and newspapers, including Kirkus.
- Peruse the usual watchdog websites–Writer Beware, Preditors and Editors, the Blue Boards and Absolute Write Water Cooler
- Go in a bookstore. Look for any books published by the small publisher you are considering.
This is a good start at checking out small publishers. Anybody else got some ideas?