An Offer to Publish!

Saturday, May 23, 2020
I had an incredible morning. A great interview (I’m looking for a new teaching job)... and I was even dressed in a pants suit barefoot for it! When I checked my email once I zoomed off, I found one that made me stop breathing for a moment. It was from a publisher, and before I even opened it up, I could see it didn’t include the word “unfortunately” in the first sentence. Fabulous!

Dear Mrs Roslawski,

Thank you for your patience during this process, I understand it can be tedious awaiting responses from publishers regarding your writing. However, we have now completed our evaluations of your middle-grade fiction ‘The Massacre of Greenwood’.

My colleagues and I have been discussing various aspects of your story and have agreed that your novel is well-written with an absorbing narrative that may educate some younger readers, we see potential in the work. We believe that it deserves a chance to reach the general readership and this can be achieved with the marketing capabilities we can provide.

Imagine a huge grin spreading across my face after reading those first two paragraphs. I continued to read...

image by Pixabay

As I’m sure you know – as it is explained on our website – we receive hundreds of submissions each month, many of which are rejected. When we accept a work, we can offer either a traditional publishing contract or a contribution-based publishing contract. In this instance we would be able to publish your work under the ABCD Publishing House banner and wish to make a contribution-based offer for ‘The Massacre of Greenwood’.

Please consider this offer carefully. This will be a one-off, finite figure. Any future costs, to cover marketing over the lifetime of the book, will be covered by ABCD Publishing.

At this point, my grin was gone.

Don’t get me wrong. There are many different routes to publication these days. In fact, I was researching some options, and came upon this article that tells of 11 different ways to get a book published. It even includes the pros and cons of each path.

Luckily for me, I’d done my homework, so I knew about ABCD Publishing. I knew there was a fee ($5,000, I think) that was the one-time “contribution” for those authors who didn’t wow them enough for a traditional contract. Since $5,000 will buy a lot of chocolate books plane tickets, it was thanks, but no thanks.

So it’s not only “buyer beware.” It’s also writer beware. Certainly, there are instances when a vanity press makes sense. There are authors who go the micro-pub path… and it works out fantastically for them. There’s even crowdfunding for books… which has me intrigued.

Just do your homework… Or your grin might turn into a grimace if you leap into something because you’re overeager and say yes to something before you find out exactly what’s being offered.

And now I’m headed to find out a decent DIY way to cut my hair. Desperate times call for desperate measures...

Sioux is a teacher (currently job-hunting), a freelance writer and a nest-supervisor. (These days, while sticking so close to home, I've become obsessed with a robin's nest on our carport. I think the babies are almost ready to leave the nest.) If you'd like to read more of Sioux's writing, check out Sioux's Page,


Margo Dill said...

I was getting so excited! I am still excited for you. But I completely agree that in my opinion, a hybrid publisher (or contributor--whatever they call it) is notthe way to go these days. You could spend that $5000 in a lot of ways to market your own book and get all the royalties and control yourself. Good decision. Hang in there!

Kim Lehnhoff said...

I got so excited, then once the word "contributor" popped up, I knew it was, if not a direct scam, a scam-in-the-making.

A small press is waiting for your book...I hope they get back to you soon.

Never give up! Let me live vicariously through you, since I am too lazy to write anything substantial.

Pat Wahler said...

As others have mentioned, if you decide to publish under your own imprint, you'll spend far less money to produce a quality book.

Doing your homework is great advice!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--Thanks for the encouragement. For now, I am definitely hanging on. And when it is published, it will be largely because of your editing skills. Without your suggestions and careful editing work, it would still be sitting there, a novel about a massacre that was lacking tension...

And Kim--You SHOULD be sending out your stuff. Your essays. Your flash fiction. You are a writer who can churn out something at the last minute, and it usually doesn't need much revision. Make this last half of 2020 the time you DO start submitting your writing. Please!

Pat--You are one author I've followed. You've published varied pieces in varied ways. Your success inspires me. I hope to sometime soon enjoy a fraction of the success you've worked so hard to enjoy.

Renee Roberson said...


I got a similar offer when I was still shopping my YA around. It was with a publishing company I have a lot of respect for, and they had recently added a hybrid publishing arm of their company. I still am considering going the hybrid route someday, but if I were going to spend $5,000 it probably would make more sense to publish myself and have more creative control like others here have mentioned. I have a feeling your persistence will pay off and you'll land at the right place! Just keep querying.

Cathy C. Hall said...

VERY glad you'd done your homework, Sioux! I've seen people pay thousands to end up with a sub-par product when they could've paid hundreds for editing and then just published their own books (and ended up with a much better product).

Hang in there, Sioux!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--I hope you're right ;) and Cathy--Thanks. I've seen the same thing.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Sioux ~ I'm glad you turned down the offer because I think you can do better. Stick with it, and I believe you'll find an agent and/or a publisher who will love your book.

There is a place for hybrid publishing though, and while some writers are totally against it, I'm not, depending on the circumstances. If the hybrid is a reputable publisher--for instance, SheWritePress--and they can bring something to the table that the writer is lacking, then it's worth looking into. I'm talking about the author who doesn't have a platform and audience to market to, no social media, and not a lot of time to start a new business (and indie publishing--which is what self-publishing is these days--is a full-time business, no doubt about it). In that case, a hybrid publisher may be a good partner. But before a writer decides to go with one, she needs to check out the books they carry, maybe even talk to those authors and find out about their experience, check out the publisher's books' sales rank on Amazon to see how many they're selling, look into the percentage you'd get from sales vs if you did it all yourself, and run the numbers. A hybrid publisher is not necessarily a scam. Certainly there are some that are, so be sure to check out our friend, Victoria Strauss's fantastic website, Writer Beware, and general reviews on the publisher, and then make a decision on what's right for your book.

I've thought about self-publishing, but I'm not sure I would be able to sell the number of books I'd need to make it a viable business because I'm not on social media, and really have no plans to be for the most part, and don't have a personal platform. For WOW, sure, we plan to start an indie publishing arm for craft of writing books, and perhaps flash fiction and creative nonfiction essay anthologies. But if I were to self-publish I'd look into starting a marketing group with other authors in my genre (and I think this would work well for you and children's authors, Sioux) or maybe the crowdfunding option I mentioned. There are options!

Keep at it, Sioux!

BTW, I just received the memoir you sent today. Thank you! I'm going to send you something back. :)

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