Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Best wishes to each of you.
We hope that you have a healthy and happy 2015!

First off, it always surprises me how many queries we receive because CRP does no advertising, none. We are not on social media. (Oh, the sin of not being uber connected in such a way.)
The constant stream of queries points to the talent and skill of our web designer and the meta tags or whatever else she does that I don't fully understand.
Nonetheless, must be quite search engine friendly, because we certainly get more than enough queries to keep Judith and me on our toes and more or less out of trouble -- not that I'm complaining! Oddly too, we are getting much better works submitted to us. Thus, we are requesting more full mss and rejecting fewer mss.
It seems that this year quite a few writers decided that 2015 would be the year their ms would be published. In the last month, we've had a ton of queries.
Sadly, one person mentioned that their publisher is requesting fees after the ms was accepted. That made me think about how different Cactus Rain is from some small publishers. These thoughts are what this post is about...
It's a new ballgame to enter the query phase of the writing process. Querying is a bit like saying, "I love you." You can't take it back once it is out there. You are sharing a personal part of yourself with a stranger and hoping for acceptance, and at times, fearing rejection.
There is a lot of time spent searching for a literary agent or perhaps a small publisher who doesn't require a lit agent; it is an investment. It can be discouraging. That is why I usually make an effort to explain why an ms was rejected, so it doesn't feel like a personal rejection.
Cactus Rain only publishes fiction. We don't have the resources to fact check non-fiction. We most often pick up mid-list mss from not-quite-ready-for-prime-time writers. We look for great stories, and for writers with heart rather than attitude.
We don't have a huge catalogue, but what we published is very [very, very] good. We believe in the mss enough to put our money into them. We take the time to explain why we want the changes that we request, in the hope that our writers learn to be even better writers and go on to bigger publishers in the future.
We don't work with stubborn know-it-all writers. Once the ms is under contract, it is our property, as it is with any other publisher. That said, we are careful not to change the voice of the work. About half of the time we change the working title. It is all about marketing. If the title doesn't appeal to readers, they aren't going to purchase the book.
We do not pay an advance and many publishers are getting away from advances because they are borrowed against the future earnings. Advances are sometimes subject to repayment. We think that advances slow the process of getting royalties into the writer's hand.
We are supportive of authors who want to self-publish. Learning all the things needed to publish successfully is quite a task. We applaud them. Sometimes we buy their book for our library.
We are cautionary of pay-for-publishing situations. However, I know a few people who have been quite successful with that route. And yes, we buy some of those books for our library, too.
Writing is a craft and an art. Write your best work. Aim high.

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