As a knockoff of my literary agent list, I have decided to supply you with the short list of publishers I have contacted for my latest book venture. After querying agencies for a few months, I started contacting more mid-range publishers with the hopes of avoiding agencies altogether. This is not to say that bypassing an agent is beneficial to everyone; I think it's worthwhile in my case for a few reasons:
1. My tech/humor/business writing seems to be incomprehensible by most agencies, even though my readers seem to enjoy it quite thoroughly.
2. Most agency websites are pretty terrible. It's difficult for me to go with representation of an organization that refuses to even consider having a decent website.
3. I work for the largest online advertisement agency in the world, so although it would be nice to have some agency contacts in marketing, it seems that I have a pretty nice avenue already.
A few months ago, I communicated with Scott Adams of "Dilbert" fame. He also concluded that I didn't need an agent to sell my book. I would be wrong not to follow an indirect mentor, right?
Here is the list of publishers I have been in contact with. Although I have not signed any contacts yet, I at least have a notion of a handful that I may ultimately work with. Here's a quick rundown of my contact rate to date:
1. Publishers on overall list: 22
2. Contacted: 19
3. Responded: 16
4. Interested publishers: 4
5. Zero or incomplete response: 3
The publishers are listed in alphabetical order by company. If you are looking for a specific publisher, the best way to find it on this page is by using your browser's Find command.
I've also colored some publishers green to show the decent responders who don't make you snail mail 34,526 pages for no real reason. All of the ones colored accept email queries and/or proposals.
Adams Media: I was recommended by another publisher to contact Adams Media. I thought, great, a solicited proposal! However, my joy didn't last long, as after a mailed proposal and repeated emails, I still have not heard from this publishing house. (2/21/09)
Agate (B2 imprint): I met with an Agate rep at the 2008 L.A. BookExpo. I received an email response one day after submitting an email query. (6/9/08)
Andrews McNeel Publishing: I received a written response six weeks after I snail-mailed a proposal. (7/7/08)
Apprentice House: This publisher is not accepting novel submissions at this time. (6/28/08)
Bancroft Press: I have no idea what happened with this guy. He requested I send five chapters immediately after I emailed him. I never heard back, even after two followup emails. Maybe he took my manuscript, moved to another country and became famous! (1/25/09)
BenBella : I received a written response a week after I snail-mailed a proposal. (7/7/08)
BookPros (Midpoint): Here's another vanity press that you should avoid. I had a nice meeting at the 2008 L.A. BookExpo with rep Breanna Rollings, and I submitted chapters via email. After a little web research, I found that BookPros seemed to have a decent reputation, as far as vanity presses go. However, judging by the prices of some of their services, and also after a discussion with someone who had published with the company, I decided to remove BookPros from the list. In general, the only reason one should go with a vanity press is if he or she has tons of money to throw around AND the person plans to do book tours and additional marketing 24 hours a day. I'm guessing this means that no one in the right mind would do vanity publishing. (10/1/08)
Chicago Review Press: I received a written response three weeks after I snail-mailed a proposal. (7/24/08)
Clerisy Press: I have no idea if this press still exists. I tried to contact the company numerous times via email, and I never received a response. (10/1/08)
Clifton Hills Press: This publisher is not accepting new clients. (9/1/08)
Dalton Publishing: I have mixed feelings about Dalton Publishing. I met with Deltina Hay, the owner, at the 2008 L.A. BookExpo. She seemed pretty nice and interested in my book. I emailed her after the event, but I never heard back. I then emailed multiple follow ups and finally corresponded with another person at the company. For whatever reason, he would email me back only after I emailed him the same email twice ... and this happened three times. Ultimately, Dalton turned down my project, and it took seven months to reach a definitive answer. The people there seemed nice enough, assuming you send duplicate emails to them. (1/26/09)
Draumr Publishing: This company publishes only fiction works at this time. (7/14/08)
No Starch Press: I received a response in six days. This company publishes only technical books and does not handle novels. (9/15/09)
Orange Frazer Press: This publisher looked promising for awhile, but apparently they have restructured their company a bit. It seems that most new clients have high-end printing, illustrations, etc., which is not really geared toward novel publishing. (9/15/09)
The Pragmatic Bookshelf: I received a response a week after submitting an email proposal. I must admit that I was disappointed about not getting the opportunity to work with this publishing house. It seems that its books are primarily computer manuals, and not necessarily nonfiction novels. The woman I communicated with seemed professional in the manner that she dealt with writers, which has been the exception in my search for publishers/agents. (7/2/08)
Sterling House Publisher: This company isn't a true publisher, and I wish I would have known this before talking to its reps. I spoke with one at the 2008 L.A. BookExpo and later snail mailed my manuscript to the company. Then I started reading horror stories about Cynthia Sterling and her operations, both as a publisher and agency. I immediately requested that my manuscript be destroyed, and that I was no longer interested in any services. Another rep later sent me an email saying that someone had reviewed my "no-fee submission." Hello people, submissions should always be free ... and if they aren't, you are dealing with a shady character. Do a few web searches, and you'll see why it's imperative to avoid this publisher/agency. (6/30/08)
Ten Speed Press: The only thing I can tell you about Ten Speed is that they should probably change its name to Tin Lethargic. I sent a 37-page proposal to the company, and eight months later, I have not received any response. I've tried to email the company, and "customer service" claims that the "email address is not affiliated with the editorial department and can not forward messages to them." Better yet, I called the number listed in the email, and I was told that my manuscript must have made it through the "first screening," even though it has been four months since I was told that. Maybe Ten Speed will publish my book after I'm deceased? UPDATE: I received a letter saying that my manuscript didn't make the cut. Maybe it was being considered, or maybe they lost it ... who knows. The total time between when I sent my proposal and when they sent me a letter was 13 months. (6/24/09)