Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Importance of the Proposal, Submission Guidelines, and R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Recently I read a post on Ted Savas' blog, A Publisher's Perspective, about Savas Beatie's success with history and military book clubs which Ted attributes to the quality of their books and the partnerships they have with their authors. One excerpt especially stood out for me:

"And let me tell you, Savas Beatie authors work hard. They are routinely courteous, very helpful to others, and absolutely love what they do. And we screen them much more thoroughly than some probably even know. (A warning to prospective authors: one fellow was rude and short recently on the phone with one of our staff when he was told to submit his manuscript using the guidelines found on line. When he did so two days later, I immediately rejected his work. If he is rude about protocol, we don't want to work with him. And I told him exactly that.)"

Unfortunately, I found myself in exactly the same position this week. To quote specifically from my rejection letter, "At Cumberland House we attempt to foster a sense of business partnership with our authors. Your lack of respect for our procedures and employees, the incomplete proposal, and the limited communication options are all indicators that that a healthy partnership with you is not a likely option so I am rejecting your book proposal and wish you all the best in your pursuit of the right publishing partner for this project."

I share this to express appreciation to Cumberland House authors who truly are great publishing partners, to encourage my Cumberland House teammates that we won't tolerate disrespect, and lastly, as a word of advice for prospective authors.

1. Write a good book proposal. Small business advisers stress the importance for entrepreneurs to create and maintain a business plan as the dynamic document that establishes the vision, defines the market, analyzes the competition, and spells out the goals. Your book proposal is your business plan.

2. Research prospective publishers' submission guidelines and follow them.

3. Treat people with respect.

1 comment:

TPS said...

Hi Paul

Many thanks for taking the time to read my blog, and then find something worthy enough to utilize. Appreciate it.

Sadly, the subject you (and I) wrote about happens more often than some might believe. I scratch my balding head in frustration each time. Who raises these children?

Good luck to you, and I hope to meet you one day. Keep up the good work.

Theodore P. Savas
Savas Beatie LLC