Top 10 Questions to Ask a Publisher Before Committing to One

We often get asked questions about the nature of the relationship between author and publisher in self-publishing. In this relatively new world of self-publishing and indie publishing, it can be difficult to figure out the best option for you. Should you go it alone? Should you hire contractors to whom you can outsource some of the pieces of the publishing process? Or, should you work with a company that can provide you with all of the services you need to successfully self-publish? We’ve put together this handy list of questions that you should ask any publisher before you commit to one while you’re in the process of navigating your publishing options.

1. What credentials do your editors have?

2. Do I own 100% of the rights to my work?

3. What kinds of marketing services do you provide?

4. What type of quality can I expect?

5. Ebooks: What e-reader formats do you provide?

6. Am I required to purchase my book in quantity from you?

7. How much would it cost to purchase my own books?

8. What are my distribution choices? Who fulfills the orders?

9. May I see a copy of your standard contract? Is there a royalty split?

10. What if I wanted to opt out of our publishing agreement? Can I get the printer files?

One of the many benefits of self-publishing is that you are ultimately in control of the entire process. Your publishing partner you choose should be there to guide you along the way in regard to editing, design, production, printing, distribution, and marketing. Click here to download your free copy of the “Top 10 Questions You Should Ask Your Publisher”! In this guide, we provide tips to help you make the right decision in regard to the publisher with which you choose to work.

Please fill in the form on our website and your download will be immediately available!

We’re also currently offering a great promotion to authors who are thinking about self-publishing. To receive your free 45-minute consultation, send us a one-paragraph book synopsis, a brief author bio, a list of comparable titles, and the first three chapters of your manuscript. SDP Publishing Solutions will review and set up a time to talk with you to provide direction and recommendations on what you need to do to publish your book and get it on the market!

SDP Publishing Solutions, LLC (formerly Sweet Dreams Publishing of Massachusetts) offers optimal self-publishing solutions for authors worldwide. From literary agency representation to worldwide marketing – including international rights – and independent publishing, we provide the best solutions for authors. Our services include developmental editing and copy editing, custom cover design and layout, book marketing, query letter and book proposals, literary agency representation, print and e-book development. We provide the best exposure for your book!

Submit Your Work! Writing Contests for the End of 2013

A great way to gain credibility as a writer/author is by submitting to writing contests. Maybe you haven’t finished your book yet or are in between books. There are lots of great contests and journals that are accepting submissions right now for many different types of work, including fiction, non-fiction, fan and flash fiction, essays, short stories, and poetry. These types of contests can help you keep your writing and publishing momentum going. Below is a list that we put together to help you as you think about submitting your work. The following contests have submission deadlines in October, November, and December. We will continue to keep you updated on writing contests in the coming months.

Some of the contests have nominal entry fees and specific deadlines for entry, which you need to pay attention to. We’ve tried to include them here to the best of our ability.

Nonfiction Contest, Judged by Cheryl Strayed

Online deadline: October 15, 2013

“…the raw truth of life: it isn’t always simple or pretty.” -Geoff Bendeck, LUMINANonfiction Editor. Each year, LUMINA hosts a national literary contest in a single genre. This year’s contest genre is nonfiction and the winner will be chosen by Cheryl Strayed. Grand prize: $500 and publication in LUMINA Volume XIII. We’re looking for pieces under 5,000 words and there is an entry fee of $12. Send us your best work and surprise us with your form. For further guidelines, information and to read more about what our nonfiction editor is looking for, go towww.luminajournal.com/contest.

The Briar Cliff Review poetry, creative nonfiction and fiction contest

Deadline: November 1, 2013

$1000 & publication. Submit unpublished story, essay or 3 poems w/ $20. Entrants receive issue. No name on mss. Include cover page with title(s), name, address, email, phone. Deadline: Nov. 1. SASE for results only. Briar Cliff Review Contest, 3303 Rebecca St., Sioux City, IA 51104. www.briarcliff.edu/bcreview

Dogwood Multi-genre contest, $1000 grand prize

Online submission deadline: October 15, 2013

Dogwood welcomes entries in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for its annual contest with a $1000 grand prize for one winning entry. The grand prize winner will be chosen from winners in nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Winners in the other two genres will receive prizes of $250. Entry fee is $15; all submissions considered for publication in the 13th annual edition of this print and e-pub journal. Only anonymous submissions accepted. Submissions accepted online between August 1 and October 15, 2013. Please use our online submission manager for your submissions at dogwood.submittable.com/submit.

Glimmer Train

Submission deadline: Family Matters: October 31, 2013

Short Story Award for New Writers: November 30, 2013 (open only to writers whose fiction has not appeared in a print publication with a circulation greater than 5000)

One of the most respected short-story journals in print, Glimmer Train is represented in recent editions of the Pushcart Prize, O. Henry, New Stories from the South, New Stories from the Midwest, and Best American Short Stories anthologies. Submit online: www.glimmertrain.org.

$5,000 Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize

Postmark deadline: October 31, 2013

The University of Arkansas Press will accept submissions for the Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize in September and October. One winner and up to three finalists will be published. In addition to publication, the winner will receive $5,000. The series is open to all book-length manuscripts by a single author of 60 to 90 pages, except translations. Individual poems may have been published in chapbooks, journals, and anthologies. There is a $25 reading fee. For more information, visit www.uapress.com or call 800-626-0090.

Truman State University Press
Poetry Prize & Short Fiction Prize

Online/Postmark deadlines: October 31, 2013 (poetry)

T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry: annual award for the best unpublished book-length collection of poetry in English. The winner will receive $2,000 and publication of the winning collection. All entrants receive a copy of the winning book. Reading fee: $25.

The Chariton Review Short Fiction Prize: annual award for the best unpublished short fiction, any theme up to 5,000 words in English. The author will receive $1,000, and the winning story, along with finalists, will be published in the spring issue of The Chariton Review. All U.S. entrants receive a copy of the prize issue. Reading fee: $20. tsup.truman.edu/prizes.asp

Creative Nonfiction: Mistakes Wanted for Themed Issue

Online/Postmark submission deadline: November 1, 2013

For a special issue, Creative Nonfiction is seeking new essays about mistakes—major or minor, tragic or serendipitous, funny or painful. $1,000 for Best Essay & $500 for runner-up. Essays must be true stories, factually accurate, previously unpublished, and no longer than 4,000 words. There is a $20 reading fee (or send a reading fee of $25 to include a 4-issue subscription to Creative Nonfiction—US submitters only). Submit online or by regular mail. Full guidelines at www.creativenonfiction.org/mistakes.

Coal Hill Review Chapbook Competition

Submission deadline: November 1, 2013

Coal Hill Review is interested in publishing a wide range of poetry. We ask that all submissions come through our annual contest. Please review the complete guidelines on our website carefully before submitting. The winner will receive $1,000 and publication in an edition of 200 copies available through Autumn House Press, as well as online in the Spring issue of Coal Hill Review. Manuscripts should be submitted electronically or through the US mail from August 1 to November 1. The final judge is Michael Simms, founder and editor-in-chief of Autumn House Press.

Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Writing Contests

Online/Postmark submission deadline: November 1 and November 15, 2013

One-Act Play and Short Fiction. $1,500 prize each, plus VIP passes ($500 each), reading/staged reading at 28th annual Festival (March 19-23, 2014), and more. $25 entry fee. Deadlines: 11/1 and 11/15 (postmarked). Writing Contest, 938 Lafayette St, Suite, 514 New Orleans, LA 70113. Guidelines and online submissions: www.tennesseewilliams.net/contests.

Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Prize 2013

Postmark deadline: November 15, 2013

Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Prize 2013 on the Jewish experience. Please submit 1-2 one-page poems, single space, submit in quadruplicate hard copy, cover page with contact information and list of poems. No email submissions. Deadline: November 15, 2013. NO FEE. For more information, visit www.poeticamagazine.com.

The Fiddlehead: Special Subscription Offer & Annual Contest

Postmark Deadline: December 1, 2013

Special Subscription Rate for Creative Writing Faculty & Students: Subscribe now to The Fiddlehead, Atlantic Canada’s International Literary Magazine, and save an additional 25%! Click on the image to access the .pdf order form. But hurry—this special offer ends January 31, 2014. Take a shot at literary fame & fortune! Enter The Fiddlehead’s 23rd annual contest in poetry and short fiction. Prizes: $2000 CAD for the winners + publication payment and $250 CAD for the honourable mentions + publication payment. Entry fee: $30 for Canadian residents/$36 all others. Visit thefiddlehead.ca for more details.

The Harper’s Bazaar Short Story Prize

Deadline: December 13, 2013

The Harper’s Bazaar Short Story Prize is open to published and novice writers alike. Entrants should submit an original short story (up to 3,000 words) on the subject of ‘spring.’ http://www.harpersbazaar.co.uk/going-out/who-what-where/short-story-competition

Press 53 Award for Short Fiction

Online submission deadline: December 31, 2013

Awarded to an outstanding, unpublished collection of short stories. Reading Fee: $30. Award: Publication of winning short story collection, $1,000 cash advance, travel expenses and lodging for a special reading and book signing party at Press 53 headquarters at the Community Arts Café in downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina, attendance to the 2014 Press 53/Prime Number Magazine Gathering of Writers, and ten copies of the book. Enter September 1, 2013–December 31, 2013; finalists announced March 1, 2014; winner announced on May 3, 2014 (National Press 53 Day). Complete details at www.Press53.com.

Tartt First Fiction Award, Livingston Press

Postmark deadline: December 31, 2013

Tartt First Fiction Award’s tenth annual contest is now open. American authors who have not yet published a story collection are eligible. One thousand dollar award, plus publication in trade paper, hardcover, and Kindle. Author receive 100 copies. Manuscript should fall between 150-275 pages. Open to all themes, styles. Twenty-dollar entry fee. Mail to Livingston Press, Station 22, The University of West Alabama, Livingston, AL 35470. We notify all entrants of receipt in January, of the winner in late May. Keep a copy of your manuscript, as we do not return entries. www.livingstonpress.uwa.edu

If you’re interested in learning more about how to maximize your exposure and gain credibility through third-party reviews or by entering contests, contact SDP Publishing. We have extensive experience working with authors to submit their work to third-party reviewers and contests to help expand their marketing potential.

To receive your free 45-minute consultation, send us a one-paragraph book synopsis, a brief author bio, a list of comparable titles, and the first three chapters of your manuscript. SDP Publishing Solutions will review and set up time to talk with you to provide direction and recommendations on what you need to do to publish your book and get it on the market!

SDP Publishing Solutions, LLC (formerly Sweet Dreams Publishing of Massachusetts) offers optimal self-publishing solutions for authors worldwide. From literary agency representation to worldwide marketing – including international rights – and independent publishing, we provide the best solutions for authors. Our services include developmental editing and copy editing, custom cover design and layout, book marketing, query letter and book proposals, literary agency representation, print and e-book development. We provide the best exposure for your book!

Top 10 Reasons Why Authors Should Self-Publish Their Books

We recently wrote about Guy Kawasaki’s Artisanal Publishing and How It’s Changing Publishing and Kawasaki’s top 10 tips for self-published authors. Kawasaki’s tips can be really helpful for authors who are considering going the self-publishing route. As we discussed, Artisanal Publishing refers to “writers who love their craft, and who control every aspect of the process from beginning to end. In this new approach, writers are no longer at the mercy of large, traditional publishers, and readers will have more books to read.” It’s a revolutionary idea that’s changing the face of publishing. While we’ve been working with authors for years to help them to independently publish, market, and sell their books, it’s great to finally see this kind of validation on a mainstream level.

Still not convinced about the benefits of self-publishing? Kawasaki has put together a list of the top 10 reasons why authors should self-publish their books.

1. Content and design control. Self-publishers can control what’s in a book, how long it is, and how it looks. They only answer to themselves for most aspects of their books.

2. Time to market. Self-publishers can get their book to market in less than a week once it’s copyedited. Traditional publishers take six to nine months to get a printed book to market, and they will not release the ebook version earlier than the printed version.

3. Longevity. Self-publishers can keep their book in print forever—or at least as long as it takes for readers to discover it. Traditional publishers stop marketing a book once sales decline.

4. Revisions. Self-publishers can revise books immediately with online ebook resellers and printers that are working “on demand.” Traditional publishers can take months to fix errors because they print revisions after they’ve sold off current inventory.

5. Higher royalty. Self-publishers can make more money per book. Amazon pays a 35% or 70% royalty to ebook self-publishers. On a $2.99 ebook, most authors make approximately $2.00.

6. Price control. Self-publishers can change the price of their book at will. For example, they can set a lower price to try to sell more copies or set a higher price to communicate higher quality.

7. Global distribution. Self-publishers can achieve global distribution of their ebook on day one. For example, Kindle Direct Publishing will list an ebook in one hundred countries. Apple’s iBookstore reaches 50 countries.

8. Control of foreign rights. Self-publishers determine who buys foreign rights and for how much. They can make more money because they are not sharing foreign-rights revenues with a traditional publisher.

9. Analytics. Self-publishers can receive real-time or near real-time sales results. Traditional publishers provide twice-a-year royalty statements — imagine running a business with two sales reports a year.

10. Deal flexibility. Self-publishers can cut any kind of deal with any kind of organization. Traditional publishers only sell to resellers except for bulk sales of printed books to large organizations.

At SDP Publishing, we know the numerous benefits of self-publishing, and like Guy Kawasaki, we want to help spread the word. We’re currently offering a great promotion to authors who are thinking about self-publishing. To receive your free 45-minute consultation, send us a one-paragraph book synopsis, a brief author bio, a list of comparable titles, and the first three chapters of your manuscript. SDP Publishing Solutions will review and set up time to talk with you to provide direction and recommendations on what you need to do to publish your book and get it on the market!

SDP Publishing Solutions, LLC (formerly Sweet Dreams Publishing of Massachusetts) offers optimal self-publishing solutions for authors worldwide. From literary agency representation to worldwide marketing – including international rights – and independent publishing, we provide the best solutions for authors. Our services include developmental editing and copy editing, custom cover design and layout, book marketing, query letter and book proposals, literary agency representation, print and e-book development. We provide the best exposure for your book!