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Which publisher to choose?

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Sooo this is an amazingly wonderful "problem" to have, but we (my co-writer/illustrator and I) have one offer from a brand new publisher, and (it looks like - we'll hear a final proposal in the next couple of days) an offer from a very established, beautiful publisher. The brand new publisher could publish our book right away, is offering great royalties (30%), but is so brand new we're feeling nervous. The established publisher won't be able to publish our book until 2022, and while we don't have final amounts, I'm assuming they would offer us a small advance and more customary royalties (smaller). Who should we go with? How do we decide? I think we're both feeling impatient and that's making the new publisher look pretty appealing, but it feels crazy to think of passing up any offer from the beautiful, established publisher whose mission we love.
#1 - September 16, 2020, 03:56 PM

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New publishers can be good opportunities but they can also be full of disappointments. Without a proven track record, you won't be as certain that it will be a quality product. My first advice is to order a book that they have already published. Many new publishers are "micropresses" and they use POD or Print on Demand. That means they only print when a book is ordered, which often means the quality control isn't there. The colors are often muted and it doesn't have the "feel" of a traditionally published book.

I would definitely wait to respond to the brand new publisher until you hear from the 2nd publisher. I understand your eagerness, but sometimes the wait is worth it. I know I've seen an article weighing the option between traditional presses and micropresses. If I find it I'll jump back in the thread and post it.

Good luck with your decision!
#2 - September 16, 2020, 04:20 PM
Freaky Funky Fish ( Running Press Kids, Spring 2021)
Tell Someone (Albert Whitman, Fall 2021)

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Also, research/ask about distribution. That makes a huge difference. Congrats and good luck!
#3 - September 16, 2020, 05:13 PM
DREAM JOBS IN SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY (Rosen 2018)
THE GROSS SCIENCE OF BAD BREATH AND CAVITIES (Rosen 2019)

http://www.authorjessicashaw.com

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Here is the article I was looking for from Harold Underdown. I hope this helps!
https://www.underdown.org/no-advance.htm
#4 - September 16, 2020, 05:24 PM
Freaky Funky Fish ( Running Press Kids, Spring 2021)
Tell Someone (Albert Whitman, Fall 2021)

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This is all so helpful. The small publisher said they would do an initial print of 5k of our book, through Ingram, so it's not POD. But some parts of their model seem similar to the publishers using POD, for instance, their goal is to publish 52 books a year, which seems like too many for a publisher just starting out?
#5 - September 16, 2020, 05:38 PM

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52 is a lot to start with. Most imprints at big houses don't start with that many books. Printing through Ingram may very well be POD, but starting with 5000 and then waiting for the rest. Ingram has a self publishing division. Is Ingram doing their distribution?

Publishers go in and out of business all the time. I'd go with tried and true for that reason alone. If something went wrong, you'd still have your advances. Read each contract very carefully and make sure you fully understand every detail.

And congratz on the offers! That alone is fantastic!
#6 - September 16, 2020, 07:09 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
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I would go with the established press. I'm basing that on personal experience. My first book was published by a small press and they overextending themselves and went out of business. I was left with a book that had sold out of the initial 5k print run and no way to get more for events and signings.

I recently sold a picture book manuscript to Candlewick and the experience is completely different than with the smaller house. Yes, things are slower. My book won't be out until 2022, but I don't have any of the issues that I dealt with before and I'm not worried about not getting paid or having a book that won't ever get a second print run.

Good luck! I know it must be a tough decision. Also, congrats!
#7 - September 20, 2020, 01:33 PM

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