Finding Your Ideal Publisher

Finding Your Ideal PublisherI know it sounds odd, but the relationship between writer and publisher has some of the same dynamics as the relationship between expecting mother and obstetrician.

(A collective “Whaattt?!” erupts from the audience.)

Both relationships are initiated by a ‘conception’ of sorts. Both involve parties working together on a project lasting the better part of a year. Both contain the occasional poking and prodding. And both crescendo with a final push.

But how do you pick the right one? (Publisher, that is. I’m not daring enough to pursue the analogy any further.) How do you know who you should choose to deliver your little binder of joy?

Quite honestly, depending on which author list you find yourself on (A-List, B-List, C-List, etc.), you may not have much of a choice. But if you do have some options on the table, here are a few guidelines to help you with your decision.

1. Scan your own bookshelf. I’m guessing you’re writing about something you have a passion for, which means you have probably acquired other books on the same or similar topics. So when you see a publisher’s name on one of those books, there’s a pretty good chance you and that publisher have some common ground on which to build a meaningful working relationship.

2. Surf for testimonials. Authors are usually more than willing to share their experiences with publishers. Here’s a thread titled Bewares and Background Check that delivers a barrelful of information along these lines.

3. Look for an expert you can trust. What is their publishing history with authors like yourself? Do they have a recognizable name and ethical reputation? How established is their platform within your niche market? (Interestingly enough, these are the same things publishers look for in prospective authors—in addition to a well-thought-out marketing plan.)

4. Follow your intuition. What does your gut tell you? Does this seem like a person or organization that views positive cooperation as a means to accomplishing things? Can you recognize some shared core values? Do you feel supported in your enthusiasm and the endless possibilities you see for your book? Are you already talking about what you might wear on Oprah?

5. Be your own publisher. There are plenty of self-publishing outfits out there, as well as industry watchdogs like Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, who exist to help you avoid getting scammed.

I hope these tips help you on your way to getting published. And with regards to my opening analogy, I apologize in the event you’re never able to look at a publisher the same way again.

Questions about the right publisher may be directed to Michael R. Drew at the Austin, Texas, headquarters of Promote A Book: 512-858-0040. You can also contact Michael via email at

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