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Often, submitting authors are surprised we didn’t accept their submission for further consideration. Methinks they do not understand that we have quality standards, and they hope we will take everything submitted.

Even . . . garbage.

The truth is we do not send a reply if the work is part of the 50-75 percent of submitted manuscripts that we reject. I know that seems mean.

Rejection is hard to take for anyone, much less an author who has poured their heart and soul into a story. It is dear to them. It is sacred, angelic, wonderful, a part of their heart carved off into words that MUST be read and appreciated and . . . accepted.

We do accept their work through our website, and anyone with a manuscript is welcome to submit their manuscript for consideration. https://www.koehlerbooks.com/submit-your-work/

But there are literary and publishing standards of excellence that we adhere to, and we simply cannot take all submitted manuscripts and add them to our submissions list for further consideration.

As you may know, both of our two models (traditional and hybrid) have standards and criteria that we use to grade and consider new work. Details are here: https://www.koehlerbooks.com/publishing-models/

Let’s start with our traditional criteria, with the highest quality standards:

  • An amazing and inspired story that is superbly crafted and edited
  • Collaborative authors who have an entrepreneurial attitude
  • A verifiable track record of sales success from previous titles
  • A strong marketing platform and promotional plan
  • A dedicated following of readers

This list is nearly impossible for new authors to fulfill. Therefore, very few debut authors receive a traditional publishing deal from us or from ANY publisher. How can they have a track record of sales or even a dedicated list of followers?

It is a literary catch-22.

Most of our traditional deals go to experienced and agented authors with a lot of sales under their belt and an excellent, refined marketing plan. The few times we have offered a traditional deal to a debut author was because their work was so sublime, so well-crafted, so lovely and inspiring that we had to have it.

Rare but possible.

Most debut authors with high-quality work, who seem to be collaborative and have a decent marketing plan, will be offered a hybrid publishing deal. Rejected first for traditional? Yes. Accepted for hybrid? Yes.

The absolute BEST thing a debut author can do to win a traditional publishing deal is to write an amazing and extremely well-crafted story with a good audience of readers and an idea of how to reach them.

Should you try to get an agent? Sure, but be advised: the odds are against you, and if you try, it is likely you will come back to considering a hybrid publisher.

Avoid self-publishers, including those who are PRETENDING to be hybrid. There is a growing trend of exactly that, so you must be careful. To be sure they are, in fact, a hybrid publisher, make sure they fulfill all of the hybrid publishing standards put out several years ago by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA):

  • Define a mission and vision for its publishing program.
  • Vet submissions.
  • Commit to truth and transparency in business practices.
  • Provide a negotiable easy-to-understand contract for each book published.
  • Publish under its own imprint(s) and ISBNs.
  • Publish to industry standards.
  • Ensure editorial, design, and production quality.
  • Pursue and manage a range of publishing rights.
  • Provide distribution services.
  • Demonstrate respectable sales.
  • Pay authors a higher-than-standard royalty.

Details can be found here: https://www.koehlerbooks.com/…/hybrid-publishing…/

If the publisher you are talking to does not fulfill ALL of those criteria shown above, then they are a self-publisher, and chances are they will try hard to take advantage of you by upselling and not delivering on promises made, not to mention low quality.

Oh, and did I mention they will take anything, including garbage, which is why they are called vanity publishers? All they consider is the need of the author, not the quality of the work.

When dogs lay down in garbage, they stink.

Make sure you stay out of the garbage and only work with qualified and high-quality traditional or hybrid publishers.

Keep writing. Be smart. Do your homework.