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March into Publication

“March into Publication” by Joan Y. Edwards

Hurray for you! You have a finished manuscript!

Now, you can get ready to submit your manuscript to a publisher or an agent. Here are seven steps I recommend you go through before you submit your manuscript.

Seven Steps Before You Submit Your Manuscript

  1. Write a pitch/logline/summary for your manuscript. 
  2. Get your manuscript critiqued by a critique partner or a critique group, chapter by chapter. If you have the funds, pay a professional editor. Ask for titles of books he has edited in your manuscript’s genre. Make sure you like what he’s done with other books in your genre. Remember that someone who does an outstanding job of editing picture books might not do as well with romance novels.
  3. When you feel that your manuscript is the best you can do at this particular time with the knowledge and skills you have, submit it to a publisher or agent who accepts unsolicited manuscripts.
  4. Find a publisher or agent who accepts unsolicited manuscripts. Read their guidelines.
  5. Write a query or cover letter. If your manuscript is non-fiction, write a proposal, too. 
  6. Follow the submission guidelines for the chosen publisher or agent.

a. Write a query letter (no manuscript included) 
b. Write a cover letter to accompany your manuscript
c. Write a proposal if it’s a nonfiction book.

     7. Submit according to the guidelines of the chosen publisher or agent

a. Snail Mail – U.S. Postal Service
b. Email
c. Submission form on website

Good luck! Please leave a comment. I love hearing from you!


Never Give Up

Thank you to everyone who has bought a copy of one of my books. I appreciate your confidence and support. May many good things happen to you because of your kindness to me. 
Flip Flap Floodle, Will this little duck’s song save him from Mr. Fox?
Joan’s Elder Care Guide A guide to help caregivers and elders never give up

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2018 Joan Y. Edwards


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Plant Success Seeds for Your Next Conference Now

fruits-863072_640 (1)

Pixabay.com Choose a few seeds to plant for success for your next conference now.

“Plant Success Seeds for Your Next Conference Now” by Joan Y. Edwards

You have the magical seeds needed for your success. Your inner mojo or magical power is there for you to use 24 hours a day.  Look for it. Plant it. Nourish it. To help you grow in confidence, you need to grow in skills and abilities. Plant these seeds for your success at your next conference.

pixabay.com/Choose a few seeds to plant before the conference.


Before the Conference

  1. Believe in you. Activate this belief. BELIEVE IN YOU AND YOUR ABILITIES. That’s the first seed for success. Believe in you. You can do all things necessary for your success.
  2. Set your goals. What skill do you most want to improve? Attend the workshops that will help you improve that skill. I hope that by attending a conference, you’ll learn a new skill or marketing technique that inspires you to reach your goals. You have what it takes for success. You may have to look through different eyes, through a different window to see it.
  3. Visit the web pages of three presenters that interest you. If they have a website, read the about me section. Check out their books at your local library or on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
  4. If you have specific questions for presenters, write them down on 3×5 cards and ask them at the conference during the workshops. If you don’t get a chance to ask them in person, most handouts or websites give contact information so you can write and ask them later.
  5. Get business cards with your name, address, phone number, email address, website, and blog. Many people put an image and link to their publishedbooks on the back. Use www.VistaPrint.comwww.Gotprint.com, or local print shop. You can also create business cards on your computer.
  6. Writers: Prepare a postcard, business card, bookmark. Use your book titles and pitch blurbs. Get these giveaways printed at www.VistaPrint.com, www.Gotprint.com, or other print shop. You can also create them by hand or with your computer.Illustrators: Prepare a portfolio of 10-20 of your illustrations. Make sure these are the kind of illustrations that you enjoy creating. Prepare a postcard with a sample illustration on it. If you have illustrated a published book, put it on one side and put a different story’s illustration on the back of the postcard. Share with people you meet at the conference. Also send one of your postcards to the art directors for publishing companies represented at the conference.r illustrators. Get bookmarks and or postcards printed at VistaPrintGot Print, or other print shop. You can also create them by hand or on your computer.
  7. Buy a new spiral notebook with a bright colorful design, a composition book with a black and white cover, or a sketch book.This way all of your notes are in one place. You can put it in front of your computer when you get home, and transfer your handwritten notes to your computer. You can add information from handouts by scanning them into your computer, or by typing what you want to remember from the handouts.
  8. Writers: Buy two pens that are dependable and write just the way you like a pen to write. Put them in your pocketbook to take with you. Illustrators: Take a pencil, a ruler, and a white eraser.
  9. Write a pitch for three of your manuscripts. Print out your pitches on 3×5 cards, 4×6 inch cards, or plain 8.5 x 11 printing paper. Carry two copies of each pitch with you to the conference. Put one copy in a folder and the other in your pocketbook. Practice giving your pitch in front of a mirror. Use eye contact. Memorize it. If your pitch is longer than on 3×5 index card, it is too long.
  10. Take comfortable clothing to wear in your favorite colors to keep your spirits high. Take a sweater or blazer, in case the air conditioning is too cool for your inner thermostat.If you’re hot, you can take off the blazer. A good work attire for writers/illustrators is a pair of jeans, a shirt, and a blazer. Linda Rohrbough says that you want the editors to think you just left your computer to meet with them. Be comfortable. If you feel better being all dressed up, dress up. It’s important for you to be comfortable and feel distinguished. Wear comfortable shoes.
  11. Check your laptop, iPad, or iPhone. Charge its battery. Bring your charger to the conference.
  12. Copy the  full manuscripts of your Works in Progress and other pertinent information you may need for the conference to a portable drive or flash drive for your laptop or use a cloud data holder. If you use Dropbox, you can put your manuscripts in it and access it from your iPad or iPhone or other electronic devices. It allows you to see your manuscript from all devices. Check it out before you leave home to make sure it works.
  13. Check out the directions to the conference. Find the restaurants that are located close to the conference that serve the kind of food you can eat.

pixabay.com At the Conference: Nourish the Seeds at the Conference

At the Conference

1.Take notes.

Take notes using your new spiral notebook or composition book or take notes on your laptop or other device.

2.Hand out business cards.

Hand out business cards to everyone with whom you talk. Ask for their businesscards, too. This will give you resources to check after the conference. The more you do this, the more comfortable and natural it will be for you. Make a goal of handing out at least 10-30 cards and getting an equal number in exchange.

3.Talk to people sitting beside you in a workshop.

Do you feel lonely and out of touch with people? Talk to the people who sit beside you in the workshops. Exchange names, email addresses, and business cards with them. Here are possible questions to start your conversation:

“What are you writing?”

“Are you in writing group? Is it online or face-to-face?”

“How do you find time to write (illustrate)?”

“Do you (draw) write best in the morning or at night?”

4.  If you meet a publisher or agent, ask them questions about themselves and their projects.

If you happen to meet an agent or editor in the elevator or at lunch, remember he/she is human, like you. Ask one of these questions or one of your own:

“What is your favorite project right now?”
“How do you know when a book is right for you?”
“What’s your advice for writers(illustrators)?”

5. Writers: Be ready to answer questions about your writing with a pitch.

After your question for an editor or agent, there is a great possibility he/she will ask you, “What kind of writing do you do?” This is a perfect lead in for your pitch. Hold your head high. Look the editor/agent in the eye. Pretend he’s your best friend and tell him your pitch.

Illustrators: Be ready to answer questions about your illustrating. Tell people three things you like to draw and if your like to portray humor, the dark side, nature, etc.

6. Take a short walk for exercise in between sessions.

7. Get plenty of sleep.

8. Eat healthy fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Drink plenty of water. This will keep you alert and focused.

9. Enjoy yourself and learn as much as you can.

10. List twenty things for which you are thankful each morning before you get out of bed.

11. Thank the presenters and the organizers.

12. If you are inspired by a book you hear about or see in the bookstore at the conference, buy it or borrow it from your public library.


After the Conference


1. Sleep, if you’re tired.

Accept yourself and others as you are. Focus on what you want. Be thankful for what you have. Be grateful for where you are. Put the fun back into your writing.

2. After you’ve rested, read and organize your notes from each workshop.

Edit your notes and add information from your handouts. You can scan pertinent information from the handouts into your computer.  Write at least three major things you learned from each workshop. You can write down more details if you want.

3. Make a top ten list of things that you learned at the overall conference.


4. Write/Revise Your Writing/Illustrating Goals

After this information soaks into your mind, body, and spirit, write/revise three writing/illustrating goals using the skills and information you learned. (Be patient with yourself.)

5. Writing Skill/Genre Goals

a) Read ten books in your chosen genre and three books on the craft of writing and/or illustrating.

b) Revise your favorite manuscript and submit it to an editor or agent.

c)  Revise 3 of your favorite illustrations. Choose one to create a new postcard and send to a prospective publishing company.

6. Marketing Goals

a) Learn a new technology.

b) Submit manuscripts/sample illustrations to different agents and/or editors often.

c) Join or create a critique group.

c) Join my Pub Subbers Yahoo Group, a group to encourage you to submit your manuscript/portfolio often (monthly if possible). To join, write me and tell me why you would like to join at joanyedwards1@gmail.com. Members postsuccesses, ask other members for help. etc. Members receive automated reminders for the weekly steps to get your work ready for submission.

Pub Subbers
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

d) Prepare a book presentation for schools/organization.

e) Prepare a proposal to present a workshop for a writing conference.

f) Prepare a pitch for a manuscript. Go from a page summary and then focus on the words to hook readers. Keep shortening your pitch: 200-100-50-25 words. The ultimate goal is a pitch that is 140 characters long (approximately 25 words) that fits in Twitter. If you have all these different lengths, you will have a pitch to use in your cover letter, proposal, and for the rave blurbs for the back cover of yourbook. Your pitch is the magnetic tool that will entice people to buy your book.

7. Networking Goals

a) Create a website and/or blog.

b) Join a critique group.that focuses on genres you write or illustrate.

c) Give book presentations/workshops for schools and organizations

d) Create an author/illustrator page on Facebook and post news of your publishing journey.

e) Create a Twitter Account.Tweet your blog posts and your publishing news.

f) Visit the websites of three people who shared a business card with you.  Email them. Here are possible points to include in your email. Remind them of how you enjoyed talking with them. Thank them for sharing a resource. Congratulate them on their manuscript, portfolio, or book. Compliment them for being brave if they read their story at open mike. Thank them for giving you a new way to look at a problem.

g) Make a list of your followers on Facebook and Twitter. When you get your book published, they will be helpful in spreading the word about your book.  Interact with at least 25 of them on a regular basis.


  1. Amy Bishop. http://www.projecteve. “Do I Still Need Business Cards for Networking?” http://www.projecteve.com/do-i-still-need-business-cards-for-networking/
  2. Deborah Shane. “What to Do Before Attending a Conference?” https://smallbiztrends.com/2014/04/what-to-do-before-attending-a-conference.html
  3. Kristen Lamb, “Getting the Most Out of Writing Conferences:” http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/getting-the-most-out-of-writing-conferences/.
  4. Margo L. Dill, “Writers Conferences: Five Reasons Why You Should Go NOW, and How to Get the Most for Your Money:” http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/13-FE-MargoDill.html/.
  5. Marita Littauer, “Four Keys for Writers ConferenceSuccess:” http://www.right-writing.com/conference-keys.html/.
  6. Travelle. “How to Prepare for a Conference:”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/travelle/how-to-prepare-for-a-conf_b_8413424.html
  7. Yvonne Russell, “Getting the Most out of a Writers’ Conference:” http://www.growyourwritingbusiness.com/?p=47/.

Thank you for reading my blog. Each time you read one of my articles, you honor me.  I hope your success is better than you ever imagined.

Click on comment and scroll down to the bottom of the page.



Never Give Up

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2012-2017 Joan Y. Edwards


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Which to Choose: Big Name Traditional Publishing or Self-Publishing?

Image from Pixabay


Image from Pixabay.

“Which to Choose: Big Name Traditional Publishing or Self-Publishing?” by Joan Y. Edwards

Know your options. Study the resources. Ask questions of others in your field. Read the copyright pages of your favorite books to find out who published them.

I can’t tell you which choice is best for you. I wrote, illustrated and self-published Flip Flap Floodle. Instead of a big named publisher, I was lucky enough to have a small reputable publishing company – 4RV Publishing – publish  Joan’s Elder Care Guide. You may find one, too.

Most of the big named publishers stipulate that you must have an agent to submit your work. Some of the big publishers and other not as big, but still dependable and reputable publishers are out there, too. Again, you have to do your research. Choose one that’s right for you and you’re right for them. In the resources, I put a list of publishers and agents who accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Though I can’t tell you which is best for you, I did research to see what other professionals advise. No matter which method you choose, go through the steps outlined in Pub Sub for Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3. However,  if you’re self-publishing you’d be choosing a company to self-publish rather than selecting a big name publisher. Study three different self-publishing companies to decide which one is the best for this particular book.

Pub Subbers
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

Everyone is welcome to an opinon, right? Since that’s true, here are my opinions.

Joan’s Top Reasons for Getting a Big Named Traditional Publisher:

  1. They have many customers who are familiar with them and large marketing budgets.
  2. They can afford to pay the book returns for bookstores.
  3. They have access (money) to great cover and inside illustrators.
  4. They have access (money) to pay for good editors.
  5. It may be easier for them to get a book reviewed.

Reasons for Self-Publishing

  1. You’ve tried for at least 5-10 years to get something published without success or you don’t want to wait 3-5 years to get your book launched.
  2. You’ve had your complete book, pitch, query letter, and trailer critiqued and edited by a professional.
  3. You’ve investigated cost, what you get for your money, marketing with different venues for self-publishing. (Read Resource Number #2 and #16)
  4. You have a book launch team – group of at least 25-100 people online and in person who will review your book and help you launch and market it –  to help you spread the word.

But don’t just take my word for it, read at least five of the following articles and five others on your own search.

  1. Brenda Rollins. “The POD Quandary: How to Decide if Print-on-Demand Publishing is Right for You:” http://www.writing-world.com/publish/POD.shtml
  2. First Time Publishers. “Top 10 Self-Publishing Companies.” http://www.firsttimepublishers.com/
  3. Helen Sedwick “Seven Questions to Ask before Choosing a Self-Publishing Company https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2014/06/7-questions-to-ask-before-choosing-a-self-publishing-company/
  4. Joan Y. Edwards. “22 Literary Agents Who Are Looking for You: https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/22-literary-agents-who-are-looking-for-you/
  5. Joan Y. Edwards. “40 Publishers Who Accepted Unsolicited Manuscripts:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/40-publishers-who-accept-unsolicited-manuscripts/
  6. Moira Allen. “Subsidy Publishing vs. Self-Publishing: What’s the Difference?” http://www.writing-world.com/publish/subsidy.shtml
  7. Moira Allen. “To POD or Not to POD: Some Pros and Cons:” http://www.writing-world.com/publish/PODstats.shtml
  8. Moira Allen. “The Price of Vanity:” http://www.writing-world.com/publish/vanity.shtml
  9. NY Book Editors.”Traditional or Self-Publish: What’s Best for You?” https://nybookeditors.com/2015/11/traditional-or-self-publish-whats-best-for-you/
  10. Page Two Strategies. “Twelve Questions to Ask Before Working with a Publishing Services Company:” http://www.pagetwostrategies.com/twelve-questions-to-ask-before-working-with-a-publishing-services-company/
  11. POD Publioshing. “Ten Questions You Should Ask Your Publisher:” http://www.podpublishing.org/TenQuestions.pdf
  12. Ray Robinson. “Choosing a Self-Publishing Company:” http://www.writing-world.com/publish/dogear.shtml
  13. Sarra Cannon. “Frequently Asked Questions about Self-Publishing: ” http://sarracannon.com/indie-writer-resources/self-pub-guides/frequently-asked-questions-about-self-publishing/
  14. Stephanie Chandleer. “Eight Questions to Ask When Choosing a Custom Publishing Service to Help You Self-Publish Your Books:” http://authoritypublishing.com/book-publishing/8-questions-to-ask-when-choosing-a-custom-publishing-service-to-help-you-self-publish-your-book/
  15. Sue Fagalde Lick. “Ten Questions to Ask Before You Sign that Print-on-Demand Contract:” http://www.writing-world.com/publish/lick.shtml
  16. Top Ten Reviews. “Best Online Book Publishing Companies:” http://www.toptenreviews.com/services/home/best-online-book-publishing-companies/


Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards


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Why Not? Day 8 Make a List of Good Publishers. Go Ahead.

Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

This is the 8th post in the Why Not Series.

“Why Not? Day 8 Write a List of Good Publishers. Go Ahead” by Joan Y. Edwards

  1. You’ve written sentences.
  2. You’ve written paragraphs.
  3. You’ve written an article, poem, short story, manuscript, screenplay.
  4. You’ve written a title.
  5. You’ve written a pitch.
  6. You’ve revised your writing at least three times.
  7. You’ve had your work critiqued by a critique group, a writing partner, and/or a professional editor. You’ve decided which suggestions you’ll honor and revised your manuscript again. You’ve proofread it and had others to proofread it, too.

Now you’re ready to decide where to send your manuscript…a publisher, agent, or contest? A TOUGH decision. If you’ve decided to self-publish your book, make a list of publishers who specialize in helping people self-publish and their fees. This post is not about self-publishing.

Do your homework. Investigate the publisher, agent, or contest. What are their best sellers? Do they publish your genre? What will be your royalty? Are there any required fees?  Do they accept returns? This is a necessity for your book to be accepted widely in book stores. Otherwise, you’ll have to approach bookstores yourself and see if they will sell your books on consignment. If there are fees, they are not traditional publishers. Stay away from them. Go to others.

Decide your criteria. What do you expect from a publisher? For most of The Big Momma Publishers, you must have an agent. If that’s your wish, obtain an agent.

Check the publishers or agents of three of your favorite books in your genre. Read their submission guidelines. Do they accept unsolicited manuscripts?

Study and find more editors, agents, or contests that are good matches for your manuscript. 

After collecting your information, choose three of the most promising ones for submission. Re-read the submission guidelines for each one. Write three reasons why each publisher or agent on your list would be a great choice. Save this information for your query or cover letter. It will come in handy.

If you’re reading information from a guidebook or an online source, DOUBLE-CHECK the latest submission guidelines on the website of the publisher, agent, or contest. Save yourself heartache. Check them again right before you submit your manuscript.

The next in this blog series will be about writing your query or cover letter to go with your manuscript.




  1. Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents 2017: Who They Are! What They Want! How to Win Them Over! by Jeff Herman: https://www.amazon.com/Hermans-Publishers-Editors-Literary-Agents-ebook/dp/B01LA268C0/
  2. Joan Y. Edwards. “22 Literary Agents Who Are Looking for You:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/22-literary-agents-who-are-looking-for-you/
  3. Joan Y. Edwards. “40 Publishers Who Accept Unsolicited Manuscripts:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/40-publishers-who-accept-unsolicited-manuscripts/
  4. Joan Y. Edwards. “Questions to Ask Before You Sign with a Publisher:”
  5. Joan Y. Edwards. “Take These Steps Before You Sign with an Agent:”
  6. Poets & Writers-Creative Writing Contests & Competitions http://www.pw.org/content/writing_contests_0?cmnt_all=1
  7. Sally Stuart. Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers’ Market Guide http://stuartmarket.blogspot.com/
  8. Writer’s Digest Books. Children’s Writer’s And Illustrator’s Market 2017, Writer’s Digest Bookshttps://www.amazon.com/Childrens-Writers-Illustrators-Market-2017/dp/1440347778/
  9. Writer’s Digest Books. Writer’s Market by Writer’s Digest Books 2017
  10. Writing Contests: http://writersviews.com/writing-contests.php


Earlier blog posts in the Why Not? series:

  1. “Why Not? Day 1 Write. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3t0
  2. “Why Not? Day 2 Write a Sentence. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3u1
  3. “Why Not? Day 3 Write a Paragraph. Go Ahead:”
  4. “Why Not? Day 4 Write a Snappy Title. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3wG
  5. “Why Not? Day 5 Write a Pitch. Go Ahead:”
  6. “Why Not? Day 6 Revise Your Story. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xl
  7. “Why Not? Day 7 Get Your Writing Critiqued. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xj

Thanks for reading my blog. I’d love to hear from you. To comment, click below and scroll down to the bottom of the page.


Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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  1. Never Give Up image
  2. 20 Affirmations for Writers
  3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators





If You Don’t Do It, It Won’t Get Done!


If you don’t do it, it won’t get done! Image Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards

“If You Don’t Do It, It Won’t Get Done!” by Joan Y. Edwards

It’s funny that you might have two or three manuscripts sitting in a file on your computer, packed away in a box under your bed, or hiding in an old manila folder. Yet, you have never ever submitted any of these stories to a publisher. Or perhaps you’ve drawn or painted many pictures, put them in a colorful portfolio, but have never submitted them to a publisher.

How long have you been waiting? How long are you going to procrastinate the submission process? What is stopping you? Why haven’t you submitted them? I know your list of reasons could reach in the hundreds. But why list them. Why not focus on the reasons you should submit your manuscript? Use your energy to get you closer to your goal.

Here are five empowering facts about you that you may not know:

  1. You have the intelligence needed for this job.

  2. You have the talent needed for this job.

  3. You have the experience needed for this job.

  4. You have the money and resources to do this job.

  5. You have the courage to do this job.

You’re looking at me as if I don’t know what I am talking about. But, I do. I know you better than you know yourself. You have all these talents, but you’re afraid of failing.

So what if you fail. You’ve failed before. What did you do? You got up and tried again. Do it again.

Each time you do it, you’ll gain more skills. You’ll learn at least a few things to improve your submission.

You tell me that you did that with other things, but submitting a manuscript or submitting a postcard with an illustration on it…that’s a completely different ball game. That’s too hard.

Someone’s holding up a mirror in front of you that’s not projecting a true picture of your worth. It must be an old timey mirror that distorts the true picture of what the situation really is. It’s time to get a new mirror. It’s time to think different ideas. It’s time to have a different belief system. It’s time to believe in you. God believes in you. I believe in you. Believe in yourself.

But you say to me. My parents don’t believe in me. My husband doesn’t believe in me. My sister doesn’t believe in me. My brother doesn’t believe in me. My boss doesn’t believe in me.

Guess what! To be successful, the only human person who has to believe in you is you!

God believes in you. He put an idea for a creation in your heart…a gut feeling. That’s God telling you that you’ve got what it takes and he’ll be there with you each step of the way. If you don’t have it now, you’ll have it as soon as you start believing in you. You’ll learn it. As soon as you need it, God will hand you the key.

Belief in yourself is essential. Once you believe it, it will happen. Take action. If you don’t do it, it won’t get done. You won’t reach your goal.

How do you gain more confidence in yourself? Practice. Study. Practice. Saying it. Believing it. Doing it. Taking action.

Write down the steps you need to take. Then take them. Do it. Go ahead. One by one. Inch by inch. Story by story. Illustration by illustration. Submission by submission. You’ll get there.

Pub Subbers

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

October 2016 was the 7th Birthday of Pub Subbers. I had a contest on this blog post for people to submit their work to a publisher, editor, contest, or agent during October before midnight October 31, 2016 and to leave a comment telling that they submitted and where. No one let me know that they submitted their work. Therefore, I decided to award the prize to one of the seven people who left a comment:

  1. Joan Reid
  2. Linda Andersen
  3. Sheri Levy
  4. Carol Baldwin
  5. Sandra Warren
  6. Cat Michaels
  7. Kathleen Burkinshaw

Random.org chose #7, therefore, Kathleen Burkinshaw won a free critique of 3,000 words, 3 illustrations, or a copy of Darcy Pattison’s Novel Metamorphosis: Uncommon Ways to Revise. Thank you to all of you who left a comment. You help give life to my blog.

How do you reward yourself when you submit? A tangible reward works well for me. Feel free to share this post with your fellow writers and illustrators. To leave a note, click on comment and scroll down to the bottom of the page.


Believe in You
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2016-2017 Joan Y. Edwards


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Questions to Ask Before You Sign a Contract with a Publisher

Ask Questions Before Signing Image Copyright 2016 Joan Y. Edwards

Ask Questions Before Signing Image Copyright 2016 Joan Y. Edwards

“Questions to Ask Before You Sign a Contract with a Publisher” by Joan Y. Edwards

Questions to ask and information to know before you sign on the dotted line with a publisher. There are many things that came to my mind when I decided to write this article. I know that my list is not the end-all list. I know there are other factors for you to consider. However, if you find the answers to the questions posed here, I believe you will be on the path to a good publishing experience.

8 Things to Investigate Before You Submit to a Publisher

Consider this background check on your potential publisher.

  1. Check out their website. Look at the book covers. Are they eye-catching? Do they have at least ten books in your genre?
  2. Check on Preditors and Editors to see if there are any complaints about the publisher. http://pred-ed.com/.
  3. Check Whispers and Warnings on Writers Weekly: http://writersweekly.com/category/whispers-and-warnings
  4. Look for testimonies or complaints for the company on line. Search company name + scam (fraud, rip-off, lawsuits,”Better Business Bureau”)
  5. Do they charge fees for editing, illustrating, ISBN numbers or for any other reason? Traditional publishers will not charge you fees for anything. Vanity publishers or publishers to help you self-publish may charge fees. Usually, you don’t want to choose a publisher who charges fees. This is your choice. Believe in you.
  6. Buy one of their books or read one from the library. Check it for professional formatting and editing.
  7. Follow them on their company Facebook, GooglePlus, or LinkedIn pages. Sign up for their newsletters.
  8. Read their submission guidelines thoroughly and follow them with precision. Read their guidelines aloud. Check to make sure all requested items are in your submission package. If you don’t follow the guidelines, you’re sabotaging your success. Many publishers want you to submit your manuscript electronically; others prefer paper copies sent via snail mail. For more help with submission, check out Pub Subbers on my blog.
    Pub Subbers
    Week 1
    Week 2
    Week 3
    Week 4

17 Questions to Ask Yourself and Your Publisher Before You Sign a Contract

Here are 17 questions I think are worth asking before you sign your publishing contract.


  1. Do you have a return policy for bookstores? If the publisher doesn’t have a book return contract with the distributors, it may be difficult or impossible to get your books on the shelves of bookstores. About this book return policy. On behalf of the publishers who do not offer book returns any more: As I understand it, the contract says booksellers can return books from now to infinity and beyond. That’s not quite fair. It seems to me that having a 60 day return policy would be good, but not a lifetime return policy. When a big named national bookstore chain went into bankruptcy a few years ago, they nearly washed out a lot of small publishers because they returned so many books. The books weren’t necessarily returned in good condition which meant that they couldn’t be sold to anyone. The publishers had to return the money the booksellers paid for the books which was thousands of dollars. And all of it came out of the small publisher’s bank account at the same time from different bookstores. This was bad news for everyone – the bookseller and the publisher. Many of these small traditional book publishers had to do away with the return book policy for books for this reason. Some required loans to keep afloat.
  2. Will your publisher send galley proofs of your book for review by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, or other reviewers before the book’s release? Who will review your book for them? How will you obtain reviews. Will your publisher assist you in obtaining more than 25 reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, GoodReads, or other places where people buy books online. In 2013, Jeremy Greenfield stated that in 2011 more books were sold online than in physical bookstores according to Bowker Market Research. It’s possible that you don’t need your books in every brick and mortar bookstore. Perhaps you’ll only need to get them in your local bookstores.
  3. Will you be able to get your books into local bookstores on consignment? What cost will you have to pay for your books personally? What percentage discount will you receive? Bookstores demand a 40% discount for your books. If you only get a 30% discount when you buy the books from the publisher, you’ll be up a creek without a paddle in making enough profit when you bookstores take your books on consignment at 40% off. Some book stores charge a fee of $25.00 to $30.00 to carry your books in their stores on consignment.
  4. Who is going to buy your books? Who does your publisher see as the market for your book? People can order books from a bookstore with the ISBN number and probably will not have to pay for shipping. If they have Amazon Prime they will get free shipping. If they have the Barnes and Noble membership, they will get free shipping.
  5. Does your publisher have ways to get your books in libraries? How? How many of their books are in your local library? Libraries seem purchasing more digital copies because of tight budgets. Contact your local library and see if they’ll order a digital copy of your book.
  6. Who is your book distributor? Ingram and Baker and Taylor are possible ones. The printer and the book distributors both take a hunk out of the money your publisher receives when a book sells. The publisher has pay them a percentage of it.
  7. How will the publisher market your book? Online, in stores, and other ways? See if they can mention ten ways. What are ten ways you personally plan to market your book?
  8. Will the copyright be yours or yours and publishers? Writer’s Relief says to find an intellectual property lawyer who specializes in publishing to review your contract. Here’s a link to a sample contract from EPIC.org: http://epicorg.com/resources/9-model-contract.html/  Thank you, Dr. Bob Rich for suggesting this link.
  9. Is there an out clause for both you and the publisher in your contract? Writer’s Relief suggest that you ask an intellectual property lawyer who is skilled and experienced with reading over publishing contracts to give you his advice. Publishing companies go through changes. I signed with a company who stopped publishing children’s books a week or so after I signed my contract with them. If the publisher has been in business for a long time, chances are they’ll still be in business a few years down the road. If they’ve always published your genre, chances are they’ll still publish your genre. If they don’t, you should be able to opt out of your contract. Keep your eyes and ears open.
  10. Will your book be print on demand or bulk publishing (hundreds or thousands of copies at a time)? What size book?
  11. As the author, will you give me any free books? I received 2 free books. Kathleen Burkinshaw received 15 free books.Thanks for suggesting I add this question, Kathleen.
  12. Will they do an eBook, paperback, or hardback? Which copy will be first? Second? Third? What time frame? Some companies do the eBook first. Others do the hardback or paperback first. Some don’t do an eBook.
  13. If the publisher asks you if you’re willing to change your manuscript, ask them what kind of changes are they talking about? Are they only punctuation and grammar? Are they character and plot changes? Will you need to add chapters or take away chapters from a non-fiction book? Ask them to be specific so you can make a good decision.
  14. What is the maximum word count or number of pages for your final edit? Books cost more according to the number of pages. In an effort to keep the cost down, you and your publisher may limit the number of pages in your book.
  15. Will the editor be available by phone as well as by email? I suggest that you ask if you and your editor and the main editor of the imprint talk together to discuss the plans for editing your book before the editing process begins and then monthly to make sure all of you are on the same page.
  16. What is the scheduled release date? If the release date is many years away, are you willing to wait? Do you have enough patience and fortitude to carry you through a long process to publication. The waiting process for one year is stressful. Each segment of 6 months may add strain and stress to you personally. If the editing process takes longer than planned, this might put the publication date even farther down the path. How will you handle this emotionally?
  17. What percentage royalty will you receive on the amount of money the publisher receives for books sold? 8% for paperback? Would you get 50% for eBooks? Is your royalty higher than 8% for eBooks because there’s no shipping charges, printing charges, etc. What percentage for hardback copies?

Things you may not know

Authors pay for shipping books to them from publisher.
You may also have to pay the tax for your state of residence for the books that you order.
The state where you live expects you to turn in sales tax money to them for the books you sell.

I hope this blog helps you be more aware of things to look for and inspire you to ask more questions before you sign a contract with a publisher. I wrote these as an author; however, they would probably help an illustrator, too. I wrote them to help you to keep on going and not give up.


You inspire me. Thank you for reading my blog.

Please share questions or information you believe writers and illustrators should know before they sign the contract with a publisher. Click below and scroll down to the bottom to comment.

There was a Giveaway: Dr. Bob Rich, Linda Andersen, and Kathleen Burkinshaw left comments on this blog post after it  appeared on September 2, 2016 and before midnight on Friday, September 9, 2016. Random.org chose Kathleen Burkinshaw as the winner of the free 1000 word critique. Thank you, Kathleen and all of you who leave comments on my blog.  You make me smile. 


Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards


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Sarah Maury Swan’s “An Interview of the Amazing Joan Y. Edwards”

Joan Y. Edwards AE9Z7443
Sarah Maury Swan, Author of “Terror’s Identity,” honored me and I bow humbly because she did a blog interview of me. She said I was very encouraging. I’m glad because I do like to encourage people to Never Give Up. She even tackled this with a new computer and included pictures, too. Hurray for Sarah and her new computer. I hope you’ll drop by and read it and share your thoughts and similar experiences with us on her blog. Thanks.

Sarah has followed my blog for a long time and was one of the first people to join the Pub Subbers Yahoo group. Thanks again, Sarah.


Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,665 other followers

Join over 360 Valued Subscribers and receive entertaining, encouraging posts PLUS 3 free gifts:

1. Never Give Up image
2. 20 Affirmations for Writers
3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators

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