submissions

Our Submissions are OPEN – Here’s what we’re looking for…

This is it. The moment you’ve been waiting for;our submissions are open once again!

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As a small independent publisher, what we’ve found works best for us is to open our submissions in the fall and leave them open until we’ve confirmed our new releases for the upcoming year. This year we’re looking for 3-5 titles to release in 2017 and we’ll keep accepting submissions until we find them.

So how do you submit to us? Well, it all starts here. On our website’s submissions page we list all the types of books we’re looking for and all the ones we absolutely will not be interested in. We also outline what to send us, where to send it, and how long you should expect to wait for a response. We’ve also included some helpful links to videos we’ve made to help you prepare your manuscript and submission package, not just for us, but for anywhere you choose to send it.

But what’s going to set your submission above the rest? What are we really looking for? Well, I’ll tell you.

Your Query Letter

When we receive a submission, the first thing we look at is your query letter. Typically this should be in the body of your email to us. What we’re looking for here is a sense of who you are and what your book is about. Your ability to write well matters even in your query letter because it is your first impression. We’re also looking for the following bits of information:

  • Your genre (or target audience)
  • Your word count (or scope of the project)
  • Your credentials (or writing history)
  • Your concept, what hooks your reader.

Your Synopsis

Next, we’re going to look at your synopsis. This should be no more than one page and is simply a way of introducing us to your story, your setting, your characters, and the plot. We’re looking to see if the story interests us, but we’re also trying to gauge your ability to tell a story and wrap it up effectively. We want to see how the story ends and we want to see your style as a writer. Please include:

  • Your setting
  • Your main characters
  • Your concept, what hooks your reader
  • Your major plot points
  • A satisfying conclusion

Your Sample Chapters

We ask you to send three chapters with your submission package. We’re looking specifically for an engaging opening. We want to be drawn into your story’s world immediately; We want to care about your main character and we want to be interested in what’s going to happen to them. In short, you need to hook us, your reader. Then, you need to hold our attention for three chapters. If you can do that, we’ll ask to see more. We’re looking for:

  • Your style, or ‘voice’ of your writing
  • Your inciting incident, (again, what hooks your reader)
  • Your writing ability (and level of polish)
  • Your world-building
  • The believability of your characters
  • How well you’ve realized the potential we detected in the query letter or synopsis.

If you receive a rejection letter from us:

There are a number of reasons that we might not want your manuscript and we will do our best to tell you exactly why that is. We strive to provide detailed notes for you so that you will be better prepared no matter what steps you choose to take next in your publishing journey. Keep in mind that publishing is a very subjective and selective business and that what doesn’t work for one publisher, may work well for another. Some of the common reasons we pass on a manuscript are as follows:

  • It’s not in our genre, or doesn’t fit with our current list of titles (see our collection here)
  • It’s not ready for publication and needs improvement of some kind
  • Something in it conflicts with our message or values (learn more about us, here)
  • It just didn’t interest or engage us
  • We ask for the full manuscript, but the story doesn’t realize the potential we see in the sample

submissions

I hope you’ve found this blog post helpful and I look forward to reading your submissions!

Go to http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/submissions to get started!

 

What are your Publishing options?

A couple of days ago, I facilitated a workshop at the Arts Council Windsor Regions’s Artspeak Gallery as a part of their Art.Work series and in partnership with Bookfest Windsor. The subject of the workshop was Publishing 101 and I’m happy to say it went well and we had a really good turnout.

Since the workshop was a one time thing, and only available here in Windsor, I thought I would share with all of you the materials I prepared for the workshop, so you too can benefit from them. Here goes:

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You’ve finished your manuscript, edited it, had beta readers go over it, edited it again, and now you’re ready for the next step. But what is the next step? As a writer with a completed manuscript, what are your options?

Barring doing nothing more than putting that manuscript 2.ArtWORK.Oct16-350x226aside and starting the next one, here’s what you can do to get your book to the public:

  • Self Publish
  • Pay for Publishing Services
  • Find an Agent
  • Find a Publisher

Which option is right for you? Well, that depends on what you’re willing to put in and what you want to get out of the experience. Let’s look at each option individually.

  1. Self Publishing

The success of a self-publishing venture is directly related to how much money, time, and effort you put into it. You can do everything yourself cheaply and easily these days and print as few or as many copies as you’re willing to pay for and then do what you wish with those copies, whether it’s giving them away or selling them on a consignment basis at local stores, or directly at local events. Or, you can become an entrepreneur and make a business out of selling your brand and your book, doing all the learning and legwork required to be successful in a challenging industry.

The Pros: When you self-publish, you have control over everything. You make all the decisions, creatively and financially. You get the largest percentage possible of the revenue from your work.

The Cons: You have to do all the work, or pay professionals to do that work for you. You risk a lower-quality book and you face a lack of support. There is a lot to learn and a lot of market-research to be done. You will have less access to the market as a whole and may struggle to get your book in front of readers.

  1.  Pay for Publishing Services

I originally had this under the heading of ‘Find a Vanity Press, or Hybrid Publisher’ but I want to be clear about what this option entails. There are a number of companies out there for whom authors are their source of income. They sell publishing services, which allow you to end up with a published book by paying them to produce it for you. A lot of vanity presses are scams, though not all of them are, you just need to be aware of what you’re getting into. Vanity presses are not selective, they charge you to publish your book, and they will often not provide much beyond that original transaction and allowing you to purchase copies of your book from them to re-sell. Hybrid Publishers are a little different. They combine the vanity press model with the more traditional style publishing model. They can be selective, they may offer you more support, but you may still have to pay for their services. Each hybrid publisher is different, depending on how they’ve constructed their business model, so do your research and read your contract very carefully before signing, especially if you’re being asked to pay for any part of the publishing process.

Pros: Your book will be published by professionals. You’re paying for a quality product. The press may offer other benefits at a price.  

Cons: A lot of vanity presses are scams. This method can be expensive. You may receive no support beyond the production of the book, leaving marketing and distribution entirely up to you, just as it would be with self-publishing.

  1. Find an Agent

Agents are brokers. They represent your work to publishing houses and try to broker a deal on your behalf, making their profit from this arrangement. It makes sense then that an agent would try and bring your manuscript to the larger, more reputable publishing houses that have deeper pockets. A number of publishing houses prefer to, or will only, accept manuscript submissions from agents, so your chances of being accepted by a larger publishing house are much better with an agent. However, with a smaller publishing house, an agent will likely be of little to no use for you.

Pros: You will have someone other than yourself championing your manuscript. The agent has contacts within the publishing industry they will use to your advantage. The agent can get you a better deal than you might be able to get yourself, and some will offer their advice with the contract process.

Cons: The process of finding an agent, then having that agent find a publisher who wants your manuscript can be a long and frustrating one. A part of your revenue will go to the agent. An agent accepting your manuscript, does not guarantee that a publisher will.

  1. Find a Publisher

Publishers are selective. Depending on their size, they have a certain number of books they put out each year and they usually have certain genres or types of books they specialize in. When looking for a publisher, it’s important to consider only those that would be interested in your manuscript, as in ones where your book will fit. A publishing house is essentially a team of professionals that exist to find books they can bring to market and sell. The publisher will handle all aspects of getting your book from manuscript to finished product, including but not limited to: editing, cover design, layout, e-book production, printing, distribution, and marketing. You will still be expected to promote yourself and your book to help it sell, but you will have what support the publisher can offer throughout the entire process.

Pros: You will have a team of professionals behind every aspect of the production and sale of your book. You will have the reputation of the publisher behind you. The publisher access to distribution to get your books to the market. You do not have to pay for any part of production.

Cons: Your contract with the publisher will determine what royalties you are entitled to. You may have less creative control over the final product. The publisher’s schedule decides the release date of your book.

So there you have it. Which option is right for you? Well, that’s a decision only you can make. Even though I’m a small publisher myself, I hope I’ve given you an unbiased view into your publishing options.

 

Ps. As a reminder, our submissions open October 24th! You can find our submission guidelines on our website: www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/submissions 

Recipe for a good book

cookbook-02You will need:

1 fully realized setting (if making from scratch, see world building recipe on pg 42)

A unique narrative voice

1-2 well-developed main characters, add side characters as necessary6croyblzi

Conflict

An engaging opening

A satisfying conclusion

A dash of theme

Romance, optional

 

Prepare your work surface and clear your mind. Mix together the setting, voice, and at least one character to create your engaging opening.  Add atmosphere as needed. Introduce your conflict and any remaining characters. Stir until well developed. Throw in a dash of theme and romance, if you’re using it and write for 3-6 months until everything comes together. Finish off with a satisfying conclusion and let the whole thing sit for as long as you can stand before editing.

Once edited, bake with a publisher until done, and repeat.

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Okay, this was just for fun. But for real, we’re opening our submissions this time next month. October 24th to be exact! Here’s what we’ll be looking for:

*imaginative settings, creative world building, other places, worlds, times, or versions of reality.

*believable and consistent characters who develop and change over the course of the story.

*mixed genres, genre bending, sci-fi/romance, historical/fantasy, adventure/mystery, speculative/poetry, books that don’t *fit* anywhere else.

*engaging writing with a strong opening that pulls the reader in and keeps them wanting more.

*any age group from children’s picture books to adult fiction. This is one area we’re not picky about.

*full length novels or novellas. For short stories, please take a look at our imprint Adventure Worlds Press.

For more detailed submissions information and requirements, please see our submissions page on our website. Thanks for reading and I look forward to receiving your submissions!

The Publishing Process

If you’re a writer, you may have wondered: What happens after the contract is signed?

Every publishing house is different. There are large publishers, indie presses, hybrid publishers, vanity presses, and a whole slew of other styles of publishers out there. It’s likely that I will one day do a post breaking these down for you, but for today, let’s focus on how we at Mirror World do things.

mwpubsmallblackWe’re a small, independent, traditional-style, publishing house. What I mean by that is we’re sized to be able to comfortably publish three to five books a year, with a small staff of three people plus volunteers and contractors. We’re owned by private individuals (myself and Murandy Damodred) and we do pretty much everything in house, and we’re not say, an imprint of a larger publishing house. We also don’t charge our authors for any part of the publishing process and we pay them royalties as per a contract that is signed with them at the time of acceptance of their manuscript.

So, in our style of company, after a manuscript is accepted for publication, the first step is that a timeline is established. Looking at what other books we have slated for the year and at the schedules of our staff, I work out who would be best to work on the various stages of the project and what would be a reasonable deadline for them. There are a lot of little steps, but here are the main ones:

1. First Round Edit
Keep in mind, we already read the manuscript through once as part of the submission process, but now the book will be assigned to an editor who will read it through (again, if they were the one to have acquired it.) In this pass, the editor is looking primarily for content-related edits. This includes, inconsistencies with plot, characters, description, or world-building as well as things that don’t make sense or made need more clarification. On the other end of the spectrum, it may also be to look for parts that drag or contain too much exposition in an effort to tighten up the story.

2. Beta Readingimagesd
Once the author has had a chance to make the changes suggested in round one, the updated manuscript is then sent to a team of three to five beta readers. (See my discussion on beta readers for more information on this part of the process) The beta readers’ notes  are then forwarded to the author who then chooses what changes to make based on this feedback.

3. Line Edit
Once the author is satisfied with the changes made and has made the manuscript the best it can be, the editor makes one last pass through the story line by line and corrects all the grammar, spelling, punctuation, and anything else that may have gotten missed earlier.

4. Cover Art
While the above steps are taking place, I find a cover artist whose style reflects the book and the design for the cover that the author and I envision. While the editor and the author work on the content, the artist or designer creates the cover art.

5. Interior Formatting
When the line edit is finished the editor passes the manuscript on to me and I format it for e-book and paperback. This is also the point where any design elements such as chapter headings and page breaks are decided upon. I also gather and format all the necessary information for the interior such as the ISBN number, the author bio and photo, and the dedication.
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6. Cover Layout
Once the interior format is complete and I know how many pages the final version of the book will be, I can design the book jacket. This is where the back of the book blurb is added, though it may have been created at any point earlier.

7. The Rest…
At some point early on in  the process a marketing plan is developed and it is now that it is really put into action. We plan the details surrounding the launch, whether it will be in person or online only, we create a press kit and a press release, schedule a blog tour and decide where best to advertise and sell the books. We also order inventory and encourage the author to do the same so they can promote and sell the books in their hometown.

I hope that helps give you some idea of how we operate and what process a manuscript undergoes once we accept it. If you have any questions about the publishing process, or Mirror World in specific, make sure to leave them in the comments below and I’ll be sure to get to them!

TNS Banner blog tourAnd as you know, our most recent  release, This Night Sucks is now available! You can follow the blog tour this week, or until the end of the month get the e-book ON SALE for only $0.99 in our store with the promo code: SUCKS

 

Our 2016 line-up has been chosen!

We’re super happy to be able to say that in just a few short months, we’ve found what we think is an amazing line-up of new releases for 2016!

book-seriesBack in November 2015 when we re-opened submissions, we anticipated a flood of query letters and we weren’t wrong. Thank you to each and every person who submitted to us. We obviously couldn’t publish all the great manuscripts that were sent our way, but a large number of them were a joy to read and review and we hope that the feedback we were able to provide helps you on your path to success.

That being said, we’re are officially closing submissions once again until sometime in the fall of 2016. If you are interested in submitting to us in the future, I would suggest checking our guidelines here and then subscribing to this blog to be kept up to date with our announcements and updates.

Until all the details are finalized, I can’t tell you what other books we have waiting in the wings for 2016, but here’s a review of the two we’ve already announced:

Black Lightning by K.S. Jonescoming May 17, 2016

Set in Arizona, Black Lightning is a juvenile fantasy/sci-fi adventure about a ten year old boy who, amid trying to come to terms with his grief over the loss of his parents, stumbles into a portal opened by black lightning and finds himself stranded in a strange land called Hearth.

This Night Sucks by Elizabeth J. M. Walkercoming June 17th, 2016

In this young adult vampire comedy, Lana is a high school senior enrolled in Vampire Education – a class to teach students about the very real presence of vampires. She scores a date with the crush-of-her lifetime, Pete, but the date goes sour when Pete’s ex girlfriend, Katy, shows up all bloody and pissed off.  Lana quickly realizes that Katy is not just her ordinary bitchy self – she has been turned into a vampire which, in turn, takes Lana and Pete’s date from a hot and steamy make-out session to an unexpected vampire-hunting expedition.9079872_orig

More announcements and introductions are coming soon, as well as cover reveals for these two fabulous titles, so make sure to subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already. 2016 is going to be fun!