Ideally How Many Publishers

Ideally how many publishers should a prolific author have? It’s a somewhat ridiculous question, maybe, but it’s mine. Since I know of smaller publishers, should I spread around my proposals? Or should I try ever larger publishers?

I won’t knock CPH. If I write specifically Lutheran content, I’ll likely offer it to them first. However, they only publish so many books a year. Sometimes I wonder if they have somewhat tighter plans than a larger house may have.

Googling my question hasn’t helped me. I’ll ask my dad when I see him next (in forever, I mean, ten days), but it’s a funny sort of thing. If I were academic, I’d fit into a genre. If I were some sort of expert, I might have some sort of “in” somewhere. But as a somewhat random, theologically-driven writer, who hopes to write stuff and thereby write herself out of a job . . .

I mean, I write for my kids. So the quickest way to get illustrations and a book in my hands may be a smaller publisher. If I’m writing to help the world, maybe not so much.

(Doesn’t all of this sound like I’m on the verge of sending off another query letter with proposal and manuscript ready?! Nope. Stalling between rewrites, thanks.)

I just wish I knew and I don’ t know who to ask. I don’t know who might be in a similar situation as me with a few books under my belt, a little tiny bit of name recognition, but probably no real . . . I don’t know, category? Topic? It’s just merciful to write what I suspect people, kiddos included, need, and mercy is as broad as the love of God is wide!

Sometimes it’s the pragmatic things that get me about being a writer. Sort of like administration except I’d probably be better with administration/clerical stuff than making decisions in the ocean-like field wherein I’ve gotten my feet wet.

Oh well. Thoughts or theories about ideally how many publishers, as a number, may presents an author well? Fewer the better? Who cares? Do you think it reflects more or less than the number of books published?

Ah, numbers. Somehow thinking about them can be a stumbling block in so many ways. Sigh.


Filed under Publishing, Question Asked, Writer's Life

3 Responses to Ideally How Many Publishers

  1. This is a good question. One that makes me think finding a good agent is especially beneficial. Now, they would know the answer… and they would be able to advise which publishers might be complementary (rather than competitive), etc.

    You mention your children’s books. I’ve got ideas for several picture books… and I have a very talented artist I would like to illustrate them. I know that publishers are supposed to almost universally want to use their own illustrators, but I’m wondering which publishing houses might welcome a quality book that’s essentially complete? I don’t really want to self publish them, but would like to see some good advice on the subject.

    Perhaps you can post on the subject, or at least point me toward something on this subject that’s already available?

    • Josh Radke

      Our indie Publisher considers complete projects. It is very possible that others do as well, although I am learning that it seems we are in the minority. For our part, in many ways this is easier for us because we have limited financial resources (which are presently all tied up in the other projects we are developing and publishing). But since our raison d’être is to be an alliance of classic archetypal narrative Authors as much as we are a Publisher, we enjoy working with Authors who have the capacity to take a lot of (or most of the) responsibility for their own projects.

      All this stated, we still like to discuss the particulars with the project head so that everyone is on the same page about the project as well as how our Publisher works (and also the process of the printers we use). I imagine other Publishers like us would also expect a similar dialogue at the least. If a Publisher’s submission process is not clear, do ask them. Even if they do not accept such submissions, hopefully they will clarify this on their website for future projects to see.

  2. Hi, Mary. A few thoughts for you, until your dad comes home:

    1. Truth
    It does not matter how many publishers you have. Be true to what you know to be true. Never compromise just to “be published.” I love your dad’s books and could not tell you how many (or even which) publishers he has.

    2. Seasons
    You are a young writer and a young mother. You know children, because you are raising children. You know what they need to hear and how they need to hear it. Your message of mercy in vocation IS your genre, both inherited and personalized and shared. We need your children’s books. (If you had more, we would have included more in the Simply Classical Curriculum!)

    3. Art
    You mentioned in a previous post this week that you could write more “quick” children’s books. Do not take this for granted. Many (most) of us have dreamed of writing children’s books, but we never have. If you can do this right now amdst your own manifold merciful vocations, please do this. It is your art and a blessing to the rest of us.

    Even as you encourage us, we are cheering you on in your vocations which will serve your writing, no matter what form your writing takes or who publishes.

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