So one of the questions that we have been getting a lot with regard to Monday’s announcement is this: “How do you define the point at which you stop shopping a MS to publishers and go for this option?”
For us this is an easy question to answer.
First of all we take on projects that we truly believe we can sell traditionally and sell well. As many of you know, we work hard with our clients to get their material to where it should be for submission and then we send it out to publishers. There are times when we sell books quickly and then there are those times when we go many, many rounds. This year alone, I went to well over forty publishers with each of two different novels before I found them a home.
There are those times, though, when we cannot find a buyer no matter how many houses we go to. Sometimes, after a number of rejections, I might see what the publishers are saying—if there is a common theme in their comments—at other times we simply run out of viable publishers.
When we get to that point, I would now be able to give the author a choice. Up until now, actually, there has been no choice. We would simply tell the author we can’t go any farther, give him/her the complete list of where we have been with his/her work and send him/her all the comments we have received and hope we’ll be able to work together on the next project. Now, though, we would tell them we’ve struck out with traditional publishers and then ask if they would like us to help them publish their manuscripts online or simply put the project aside and move on to something else.
This decision is obviously one we will discuss in-depth when/if the time comes. Our clients will have the option not to do this at all or even not to do it with us. And, in some cases we might even advise against digital publishing.
The point here, though, is that our intention is to exhaust all traditional publishing possibilities before we suggest the self-publishing route. I hope this clarifies the issue.