Monday, October 10, 2011

Six Questions for David Smitherman, Publisher/Editor, Palari Publishing

Palari Publishing specialties are Virginia/regional, nonfiction, mystery, and memoirs. We seek writers on the cutting edge of ideas who do not write in clichés. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: There’s been quite a bit written about the demise of the paper book and the decline in the number of books published. What is your view of the current state of the book and the book market?

DS: The book market has certainly evolved and continues to do so, but the good news is that publishing has increased so there are more options available now than ever before. E-books and POD technology has made book buying much more of an impulse without the need for a bricks-and-mortar store. Those are still great outlets, but the future is online.

SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a manuscript?

DS: That's easy.
  • Saleability - does it look like a project others will buy?
  • Author - does that author seem qualified to write about the topic? Are they committed to promoting? Do they have connections, established history, or an eagerness.
  • Is it well-written. Doesn't have to be perfect, but the concept and basic readability has to be present.

SQF: What major mistakes do authors make when pitching their books?

DS: Telling the entire plot of the book. That doesn't matter nearly as much as a synopsis of the story, what other books it's like, and how it can be sold.

SQF: Of the books your company publishes each year, how many are by previously unpublished authors?

DS: 75%

SQF: What is your advice to new, unpublished authors looking for a publisher or agent?

DS: If you're unpublished, you'll do better to go directly to small publishers. An agent is likely going to get you the same deal that you could have done yourself. A larger publisher rarely takes on an unknown unless there are unusual circumstances -- a newsworthy event, etc.

Follow the publisher's guidelines closely (include a self-addressed stamp if you send hardcopy), and you can send a gentle followup reminder, but don't be a pest.

SQF: What question do you wish I’d asked that I didn’t? And how would you answer it?

DS: The key to any book selling is promotion and publicity. The more an author presents themselves as either connected or knows people or is just willing to go the extra mile to promote and get attention for their book, the better their chance of getting noticed. The real fact is that if no one knows about the book, it doesn't matter how good it is. It's a real team effort to promote books these days.

Oh, and yes, I have a book coming that I co-wrote, "Two Versions: The Other Side of Fame and Family" by Bill Hudson. Look for it!

Thank you, David. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.

NEXT POST: 10/13--Six Questions for Buffi BeCraft, Owner/Editor in Chief, Eirelander Publishing

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