Stop Right There

This post is directed to writers who turn to small press when a manuscript has been rejected by the big houses. It is not a rant, it’s simply a plea from someone who reads a lot of submissions (and hangs out too much with writers).

Especially in romance but often in other genres as well, manuscripts/stories shopped to the big houses were aimed at (written for) one particular imprint or audience. More often than not, sadly, that doesn’t work out, so writers who hope to harvest some return on their investment of time and effort submit that same story to small press/digital publishers.

If you’re one of those authors…STOP RIGHT THERE.

Before you submit that packaged story to a small press, think about it: Targeted stories are written to someone else’s guidelines, not yours. 

How do you write? How do you tell a story? Take away the guidelines, and would the characters have been different or reacted differently in certain situations? What would the wordcount have been if you’d told the whole story? Would the outcome have been exactly the same, and the writing style identical?

These are important questions, because let me tell you something — readers and editors alike can smell inauthenticity from a million paces, and at small presses, it really is “all about you”, the author. Sure, we’ll promote you until our fingers bleed, but ultimately it’s your readership you’re building, your career you’re launching, and your backlist you have to promote.

So before you send us that mss, think hard about the backlist you want to promote, the career you want and the readership you hope to win and please over and over again.

We’ll wait here until you’re done rewriting.


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