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Publishers Accepting Unsolicited Manuscripts
How would you change publishing?
Publishers not accepting unsolicited manuscripts?
Why wouldn't publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts?
Honestly, when publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts are doing worse than the ones who are it doesn't make any sense to me. Any other business has changed to create a system better for its customers and suppliers, except publishing. Let's try an example to make ourselves see things differently.
Printers Not Accepting Unsolicited Socks
Let's say we have a sock company named 'Hole in Your Toe'. We sell socks. We don't even manufacture the socks nor do we design them. We actually let random people design socks and send them to this guy named Jim and/or Sally. Jim and Sally are 'Sock Agents'. Basically they tell the people who designed socks whether they are good socks or whether they can stuff them in their mouths. If the sock is a beautiful sexy wonderful piece of fabric they send them on to us. Then we do the same a Jim and Sally.
If the sock is stitch worth, then 'Hole in Your Toe' sock company negotiates with the 'Sock Agents' for how much that sock is worth upfront and per sock sold. Unfortunately, the 'Sock Agent' only gets money on the upfront deal and doesn't give a shit about per sock sales. After negotiations, 'Hole in Your Toe' sends a lump sum of money to the sock designer who shares this with the 'Sock Agent'.
In all, only 1 sock in 10 000 gets made from submitted socks. Sock companies routinely pass on great socks because they think they understand the market and another company makes a fortune by taking a risk.
Is this ridiculous? Why is there a 'Sock Agent'? Isn't there a better way? How come the agent negotiates with the company for something so short term instead of the designers long-term interest? Do you think that because you have been doing something for 100 years that you should keep doing it because of tradition or some other reason?
Change Your Thinking and Change Publishing
Publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts should be doing much better than publishers not accepting unsolicited manuscripts. Sure, there is a pile of manuscripts on their desk and many of them need editing and help, but there are some gems and agents shouldn't be the only ones choosing these.
It can be argued that since editors and agents have been doing something for so long they are ideally better than readers in choosing what sells, right? This goes against everything in marketing that there is. Like listening to your customers, using focus groups, using surveys, doing interviews, etc. Blah blah blah... publishing isn't socks, it is different, right? No, it isn't. It is easier. You already have people creating products, you only take these products and put it in front of a group of readers and ask, "Do you like it?"
Publishers not accepting unsolicited manuscripts? It is ridiculous. All publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts need to make their system work better in the market than it does now. There is no excuse. You are given a product and all you need to do is ask a reader if they'll buy it. The old way is dead, embrace a new way.
By the way, the person who starts that sock company will make a million dollars within 5 years. Come check out a publisher who is accepting unsolicited manuscripts.
Finding a Publisher Accepting Unsolicited Manuscripts
I think finding a good publisher with open doors isn't an easy task. Most publishers still use agents to prevent themselves from being overwhelmed with manuscripts. It makes sense in some ways although it doesn't with a two person system removing most manuscripts.
First, there are lists online with great lists of publishers. These are a good place to start to find a publisher accepting manuscripts. Then you need to do a background check. Search around on sites for bad reviews of that publisher. Learn about them. Ask them questions. If they can't answer questions before you submit, they probably won't be much better when you do.
Check out their genres and see if you fit in. Check out their ratings on previous books to see how good their editors are. Read there books to see if they are really good.