I’ve heard a lot of passes, some form letters, some helpful, a few full requests (that also ended in rejection) and almost all saying they love the concept but [insert rejection reason here].
An indie publisher has requested the full after requesting the query/25 pages, citing they are very excited to read it. After so many rejections, I feel apprehensive that they’re so interested.
Research revealed that they are very new with only two published books and a few authors. I started reading the newest book and didn’t like the cover or the writing. My fear is that they are trying to build a client base and not being as “choosy”.
Buuuuuuut, SOMEONE IS EXCITED TO READ MY BOOK.
I can see the changes I need to make, and in my heart of hearts know it’s not where it should be, where it can be. On the other hand, it feels pretty good to get what seems like a more serious request.
Sure, they could still pass, or worse - not pass - but I’m still anxious. I’m doing a pretty in depth overhaul based on agent feedback, and believe it will be better.
Is it worth it to go with an unproven publisher just to get my foot in the door? Or will they not be able to do the things a big publisher would do and my first impression to readers (and other potential agents/pubs) will fall flat?
What’s a newb to do?
This is my worst nightmare: a client excited to work with a new press. One of my absolutely ironclad rules is "don't be first." I like being third, or fifth. In other words, let Ingenue Press learn the pitfalls of publishing on someone else's book.
The first thing to look for beyond ugly covers and books you don't like is whether Ingenue Press has distribution of any kind. In other words, can they get your books into wholesale accounts for you?
Look for clues like "bookseller's information" or "trade accounts" on their website. If the ONLY button says "place order in shopping cart" and they charge you full retail, these guys are selling books off their website and not much else.
If you set up booksignings at a store, will they be able to furnish inventory at a discount? How long will that take? Do they make you pay for it ahead of the event?
With a small press, you're largely in charge of your own publicity and marketing. They must bring something to the table, something of real value to earn that hefty 85/15 split they get. Access to library sales, access to wholesale accounts, efforts for trade reviews are three BIG things you want to make sure they can and actually do. Google that book you don't like. See if there are any trade reviews.
As to what to do right now: you know your book can be better. Tell the publisher (if you elect to proceed) that you're in the middle of a revision based on feedback from readers. Ask if you can send when the revisions are finished. Generally a publisher is going to be keen to publish the best book possible, and absent some compelling reason like a hole in the catalog, they'll be glad to give you time.
Bottom line: Don't let your eagerness to be published blind you to a bad match.