Please welcome the following publishers and their founders:
Describe the setup and function(s) of your publishing company.
At Acorn Publishing we combine the benefits of traditional publishing with the freedoms of self-publishing while allowing our authors to keep the rights to their work.
By choosing to self-publish, you are able to maintain control of every aspect of the process, but by doing it with us, your work assumes another level of legitimacy with the cover appeal and expertise of an established publisher. Traditional publishers take a cut of each sale, as does the retailer & agent. With Acorn Publishing, you pay us a flat fee in the beginning and that’s it. If you make 100,000 sales, you keep whatever profit you make.
Submission guidelines: https://www.acornpublishingllc.com/contact
Dancing Lemur Press, LLC is a traditional publishing company. We accept direct queries for several genres - sci-fi, NA, mystery, Christian, non-fiction, fantasy, etc. We produce print, eBooks, and audio books and pay royalties quarterly. We also have an imprint, Freedom Fox Press.
This year, WiDo’s 10th in business, we opened a hybrid publishing imprint called E.L. Marker to meet the large demand of writers interested in self-publishing, while still wanting the security and know-how of an established publishing team behind them. With our experience, WiDo is in the ideal position to fill that need. We have 10 freelance editors to do the content editing, copyediting, and proofreading of our manuscripts, whether WiDo or E.L. Marker. The books then go to the cover designer followed by professional layout and typesetting to prepare them for print and distribution. Our distributor, Lightning Source, has worldwide distribution to all online as well as brick and mortar bookstores.
What does your company offer over self-publishing?
By being selective about the books we include in our imprint, we ensure that our catalogue is of good quality. Our books are set apart from the vast amounts of self-published work flooding the market.
You get the support of a team of professionals to help you along the way. We promote your book, represent your work at numerous book festivals, and answer any questions you may have about the process.
Even though behind the scenes you will technically be self-publishing, to the rest of the world your work will appear “traditionally published” with a branded logo and “published by Acorn Publishing” on all retailer websites.
An established brand and image; a large network; professional editing, formatting, & cover design; marketing materials, and experience. (There is a clout that comes with traditional publishing - for instance, self-published books aren’t reviewed by Publishers Weekly or Library Journal.) Our imprint even offers higher royalties for authors who are promotional savvy. All of it is at no cost to the author.
Our company, both the traditional WiDo or the hybrid E.L. Marker, offers the clear advantage of having a seasoned, professional team on your side. From editing, layout and typesetting, cover design, print and distribution as well as marketing support, we're there to help you make your book a reality.
What turns you off in a query letter?
Really horrific topics and/or bad writing. That’s pretty much it.
One that lacks what we clearly state in our submission guidelines as requirements. (Those who start off with “I want you to publish my book” are a big turnoff, too.) Writers who don’t learn how to do a proper query letter or don’t include requested items only demonstrate that they can’t follow directions - and will be a nightmare to work with.
People who don't even bother to make an effort: Forwarded mass letters going out to dozens of publishers at a time. A brief statement like "here's my book, please read" with the chapters attached. Or no letter at all, just the attached chapters.
What catches your eye in a query letter?
Good writing and an original topic.
Sadly, what catches my eye first is one that’s actually done correctly.
After that, a synopsis that is straightforward with a refreshing story catches my attention. If I can see the potential, it has my attention. I also look at writer experience, although a solid marketing plan and online connections will offset no experience.
We look for polished manuscripts with exceptional stories and identifiable characters. For WiDo, we also expect a strong, well-established marketing platform. A query should summarize the book along with information about the writer, especially what makes you the best writer for this book. Including pertinent information about your marketing plans is key if you want publication with WiDo, as it is with any traditional press. Please see our website at widopublishing.com for information and submissions guidelines for both our companies.
What do you expect your authors to do as far as marketing?
Their best…we do a lot, but you have to be willing to put yourself out there as best as you know how. We guide our authors and put them in touch with blog tour managers and book clubs etc., so with us you’re never out there on your own trying to figure out what to do.
We expect them to market online, using their social sites and connections to reach a wide audience. We want them to make physical appearances where possible - book signings, conventions, libraries, etc. Since we also produce bookmarks, postcards, and other promo materials, we expect author to distribute them. We guide our authors as much as possible.
Freedom Fox Press authors are expected to do a large portion of the marketing. (The trade-off for higher royalties.)
We expect them to care as much for the success of their books as we do. What is disheartening is when we've invested time and money into creating their book, with the trust that the author will then carry out the marketing plan they submitted, and then after the launch they do a couple things then give up.
What advice would you give writers when they are seeking a publisher?
Try to get the agent and the big deal, but remember A LOT of it is luck. If it doesn’t happen for you, it doesn’t mean your work is unworthy of publication. There are other avenues where you can be just as successful.
Do your research first. Compile a list of publishers who accept your genre and then check their listing on Preditors and Editors. (If you see red, run away.) Read AND follow their submission guidelines. (As I’ve already stated, you really will stand out when you do that.) Finally, never, ever pay a publisher to produce your book. That is subsidy publishing - neither self-published (you don’t own the ISBN, they do) nor is it traditionally published (because you paid.)
My best advice for landing a publishing contract is to submit the best, most polished manuscript that you can. But don’t edit out your own voice and emotional investment in the process. Put your heart into your work, along with all the talent you possess, then submit with a professional, informative query.
Any questions for these publishers? Do their answers surprise you?