As a writer seeking publication, if I am to gain the positive attention to an agent or editor, the first five pages — at least — must be flawless.
I think the same holds true for agents and publishers.
Writers shouldn’t merely want to be published, but to choose the best publisher and/or agent best suited for their wordy children. It’s a partnership.
I certainly won’t give my manuscript to just anyone with literary credentials. When I peruse a potential publisher’s website, I study the professional look of the site, if it’s easy to read and navigate, and what books they’ve published.
If the books show sub-standard covers such as the use of clipart (and I could show you some doozies), and poorly described back-cover copy, I hop to the next publisher on my list.
Most important is how well-written the site is, and if there are any grammar or spelling mistakes.
One publisher I looked at contained a spelling error on the first page (I kid you not). In another publisher’s submission page, I found an error a few paragraphs before they described their dedication to thorough editing.
This from people who stress the importance of an error-free submission.
I don’t care if the publisher is a larger house or a smaller one; their website must be flawless. In fact, I think it’s more crucial for a smaller publisher, because writers prefer the larger houses — as do most readers. Like it or not, there’s a stigma attached to smaller publishing houses just as there is with self-published writers. Therefore, smaller houses need to present themselves as above average to get people’s attention.
These publishers are likely reputable and could be a good fit for my manuscript.
However, if they can’t take special care of their website, how can I be certain they will take special care of me and my novels?
Tomorrow: What else to look for in a publisher.