Thursday, March 11, 2010

Going Straight to the Editors

Post by NCW Director Kerrie Flanagan

Many writers think they must acquire an agent in order to publish any of their books. If you are looking to publish with one of the big houses (Random House, Simon and Schuster...) that is true, but there are other options where you can bypass an agent.

Smaller publishing houses typically accept queries and proposals directly from an author. This year at the Northern Colorado Writers Conference, in addition to having three agents there, I am bringing in two editors as well.

My purpose for this was to remind writers that these smaller houses welcome submissions from unagented authors and have the editors available on site to hear pitches, teach sessions and be available for questions.

If you attend the conference you will have the opportunity to meet Mira Perrizo from Johnson books and Ben Barnhart from Milkweed Editions. Regardless of whether or not you are attending the conference, you should look at the information below to see if you have something to submit to these publishers.

Johnson Books

In their submission guidelines, Johnson Books states they publish only nonfiction that focus on titles pertaining to Colorado and the West. It seems this scares some people off because they think it has to focus on Colorado and has to be some kind of nature/science book.

The truth is, the West encompasses more than just Colorado, and by closely examining the books in the current catalog, it is clear that yes they do publish the nonfiction resource book, but they also publish creative nonfiction like essays, memoirs as wells as other types of books.

When researching a potential market it is always good to see what they currently publish. Here are some from Johnson Books:

This book brings together the best writers in the West today—including poets, ranchers, and conservationists—in a one-of-a-kind, unique look at the West, literally our Home Land.

Confessions of a Barbarian: Selections from the Journals of Edward Abbey
Edward Abbey reveals all his rough-hewn edges and passionate beliefs in this witty, outspoken, maddening, and sometimes brilliant selection of journal entries that takes the writer from his early years as a park ranger and would-be literary author up to his death in 1989.

A Quilt of Words
The events in these women's lives are told through their oral histories, diaries, etc… An important view of the Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado frontier.

Gardening on A Shoestring
This book is for anyone who has more energy than dollars and wants to create a beautiful garden.

The Five Minute Healer:
Self-Healing techniques for busy people.

Milkweed Editions

Milkweed is one of the leading independent, nonprofit literary publishers in the nation. They publish twelve to twenty new books each year in the genres of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. In addition, they are one of two nonprofit presses that publish children’s literature.

Milkweed publishes a variety of books and is one worth exploring. Here are some of the books currently in their catalog.

With spirit and a kind of awkward grace, Libby learns that love and support, more than blood, are what truly define a family.

The Art of Writing
Long considered to be one of the most important literary works in the Chinese language, The Art of Writing by Lu Chi is of interest to all those who wish to understand and appreciate the literary arts with keener insight.

The Butterfly Effect.
The poems in the collection move between the world of physical experience and the world of symbol in myth.

Floramel and Esteban
Children's Fiction
Floramel and Esteban is the heartwarming story about a lonely cow and a wayward egret who find inspiration, music, and friendship together.

Remember to keep smaller presses in mind when you are looking for markets for your books. Because these publishing houses are smaller, they are able to give their authors more personal attention.

Do you have any small presses that you recommend?

I hope to see you at the conference this year.


Kay said...

Getting your manuscript published depends on where it fits into the market. Sometimes, small print presses and even POD (royalty) publishers are the way to go. And, dare I say, self-publishing can be the way to go. In all cases, you need to know what you're doing.

(I think that's where NCW comes in.)

Kerrie said...

I agree Kay. Each author needs to decide where their book fits and then pursue that market with gusto.

Linda L. Henk said...

Good ideas, Kerrie. I'm still sitting on the fence about writing a book, especially after the platform class. Maybe I need a shot of "gusto"!

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