I’ve been committed to professional independent publishing since I sat round a table with the three other founder members of Electrik Inc and we agreed we would not only write our own books, we would edit, line edit, proofread and publish them independently, to a professional standard. I’m still committed to the creative freedom that independent publishing offers. But I know there are other writers out there who would love to submit their work directly to a traditional publisher if only they could, but those pesky agents get in the way, like sand flies at a beach party.
Well, here’s a bit of good news for those writers who feel agents don’t ‘get’ them and won’t take them on or submit their novels to publishers. Guardian Books has mentioned that HarperCollins, Jonathan Cape, Little Brown and Tinder Press have decided to take the initiative and are offering limited ‘open submission’ opportunities for writers to send their work directly to them, cutting out the middleman. So keep an eye on their websites for dates and deadlines.
In fact, Tinder Press, Headline publishing group’s literary imprint, are open for electronic submissions right now — from 2nd until 15th March 2015. Check out their submissions page before sending anything, and make sure you follow their submissions guidelines.
Of course, one of the main reasons publishers need agents is because of the sheer volume of unsolicited submissions they receive. Hundreds, and that’s just in a week…. Agents act as a kind of filter, but sometimes they miss literary gems, especially in this world of risk-averse decision making, where everyone is afraid to take a chance on something a little ‘different’. A few publishers must have realised this, hence the decision to bypass agents, albeit only for a limited period.
However, don’t forget the reasons writers often need agents. These middlemen and women are the people who check contracts, negotiate advances and royalty rates and try to get their writers the best deal possible in a world of shrinking advances and dwindling royalties. Publishers, on the other hand, are looking out mainly for themselves, and how to get more writers on their lists at the best deal for the publisher. Remember that when you send off the first 50 pages of your lovingly crafted novel, that’s taken the better part of three years, or more, to write.
It’s a personal decision whether you prefer professional independent publishing or want to take a chance on traditional publishing. But fortune favours the well prepared. Get that ms you’ve been working on as tight and as well edited as possible and be ready to send it directly to the publisher when they open that window of opportunity. It won’t stay open for long. Good luck!
Author of Treasure This