Should You Submit to Publishers? By James Robert Daniels

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Lin and Larry Pardey told me that they were the first authors who fired their publisher. They’re sailing through life, literally aboard their sailboat and in a literary way as successful authors and publishers. When I fired my own publisher, I learned a lot – the hard way. The book began under contract with an ebook publisher. Just what every author wants – to get published. Except that I didn’t like my contract.

The royalty terms were not bad; even the advance was reasonable. My big objection was that the publisher wanted “all rights.” A writer shouldn’t sign over all rights to anything (except for big bucks). Ask Angela. My book, a career guide, was not likely to become a Movie Of the Week. But I did hope to see it in print some day, not just on the computer screen. And I wanted it to be read. The publisher also retained all distribution rights. They would sell it exclusively on their web site. This seemed crazy. After all, why not spread it all over the web, get it out there with Amazon and Barnes and Noble?

The terms were not negotiable. The publisher insisted that lots of other authors were perfectly willing to write these career guides under these conditions. Besides, they wouldn’t have decided to publish it unless they expected to sell at least 1,000 copies. Okay. I signed the contract and started writing.

The deadline arrived, and I had a manuscript ready to submit. It was just about half the required length. My editor was understandably disappointed, but willing to let me revise and rewrite and submit a longer manuscript. But wait! I considered my options. Yes, I could gather more material and interview more people. I could make the manuscript twice as long. I could even make it better.

On the other hand, I was still unhappy with all of these things:

* the terms of my contract

* myself for giving up all rights

* the obscure website of a new e-publisher as the sole outlet for my book

I declined the editor’s offer of more time, instead taking advantage of the fact that I had broken the contract. I decided to self-publish.

By the time the book was done, I had found that it was so crammed with interactive Internet references and links that the best format for it was an electronic one after all. I published it as an ebook with Booklocker.com, distributed it all over the web and released it on a high-quality CD by NoSpine.net in the UK. An inventor friend, Melanie Loomos of buttpillow.com arranged a cover shoot with professional photographer Dion of Miami Beach and super-model Anka Romensky