At Island City Publishing LLC we get lots of inquiries from new authors eager for us to publish their book. They will typically ask us: 1) what will it cost them for us to publish their book, 2) can they get their print book right away, and 3) can their friend who draws do the illustrations? These are all great questions worthy of answers. If you are new to the publishing business, you might not know that traditional publishers do not charge authors to publish their book, that book publishing can’t be done overnight, and that most publishers will not allow family members or friends of the author to illustrate their story. Here’s why:
1.) Unlike vanity presses who will print any book submitted to them –for a price, traditional publishers don’t charge authors to publish their books, they make money from the sale of the books, not from charging the authors the cost of book production. Island City Publishing LLC is a small, independent, traditional publishing company. That means when you approach us with a book we must first review your submission to see if we think it will sell enough copies for us to recover our publishing costs plus some additional profit necessary for us to pay our bills and stay in business.
2.) Books don't spring up overnight. There are numerous steps involved in producing a quality book. Grammar and spell checking is only one part of the process. A suitable cover must be designed, the interior formatted to exact specifications, ISBN numbers applied for, and a host of other details taken care of before a proof (an initial copy used to check for errors and print problems) is even printed. In the larger publishing houses, books go through several departments and can take up to 18 months before they hit the shelves in bookstores. At Island City Publishing LLC we publish only a few titles every year, so the books we print get our undivided attention until they complete the process, which typically takes a few months.
3.) Traditional publishers will not accommodate author requests for illustrators—period. This is because while your aunt Matilda might be the best cookie baker in the world and you love her, she probably isn’t trained in book illustrations which have specific requirements that must be met to ensure they fit the page, leave space for the text, are reproducible, clear in the final print, etc. At Island City Publishing LLC we try to accommodate the author’s request for illustrators if at all possible. If the artist is able to work within the parameters we give them, and their illustrations are professional in quality and fit our publishing needs, we will consider using them. In general, however, we find that aunt Matilda should probably stick to cookie baking so please don’t be offended if we can’t use her artwork.
We really do want to publish your book, so why is it that we turn down a chance to publish so many books?
Every business, no matter what kind of business it is, must make money to stay in business; Island City Publishing LLC is no different. When an author approaches us with a proposal for a book, we must make a determination as to whether or not we feel we can sell enough books to cover the cost of production plus an additional profit to pay other bills associated with the publishing business, like licenses, office supplies, website, computers, etc. –you get the picture. Here is some insight into how that works.
Island City Publishing LLC does not require authors to use literary agents when approaching us for book publication. Since we don’t have books pre-vetted by literary agents, and we don’t have the staff and time to read every manuscript in its entirety, Island City Publishing LLC uses a New Author query form to quickly gather information about you, your book project, and what you hope to achieve with the publishing of your book. If we feel your book project is a good fit for us, we will ask for additional information, often the first few chapters and a synopsis of the book. If that looks promising, we will ask for the complete manuscript to review.
Here’s the important part new authors need to know. When a publisher reviews your manuscript, they are looking at more than just your book. They are looking for your professionalism, your writing style, your dedication to the writing craft and how well you have pulled your story together. If your manuscript is fraught with grammatical errors, plot holes, poor dialogue, poor character development and doesn’t have a clear story line, chances are it will get rejected. I’m sure you can relate to the book that you started to read and then just never got around to finishing it because you fell asleep every time you started reading.
Conversely, do you remember the last time you read a book that you couldn’t put down, that book that kept you up all night reading even though you had to get up early and go to work the next morning? That is the book that every publisher is looking to find. We want your book to make readers burn their pot roast, forget to put their wet laundry in the dryer, make them ponder, laugh or cry. If your book doesn’t hold the reader’s attention, tell a compelling story, stir memories, inspire or enlighten, chances are it will get rejected, not because it is a horrible book, but because it’s just not interesting enough to sell many copies beyond family and friends. No publisher can remain in business unless they sell books or charge authors money for printing their book. Here at Island City Publishing LLC, we prefer to make our money selling books, so that’s why not every book will make to the printing presses.
Island City Publishing LLC will be reopening our submission process in 2019. In the meantime, why not take a second look at your manuscript. Is it an all-nighter or sleep aid? There’s still time to make it shine and we hope to be given a chance to publish it in 2019.