Bards and Sages Publishing is not actively seeking submissions of novels or short story collections at this time. We have a small group of authors that we do work with on full length projects, however this has always been a case-by-case basis. Our primary focus has always been and will continue to be short fiction and anthologies. But because we get constant requests, we have decided to formalize our position so that authors understand fully what we will, and won't, be able to do. If, after reading this entire page, you still want to pitch a book idea, we will listen.
Bards and Sages Publishing is a micro press. We have some titles that have sold over 20,000 copies. We have others that have sold less than 100. As a micro press, I often take on projects for my own interest, not neccessarily widespread commercial value. The good news is that this means I don't ask writers to "write to market" or make changes simply because those changes will sell more books. The bad news is, if you have dreams of a six-figure publishing deal and landing on the New York Times bestseller list, that probably isn't going to happen here.
I consider myself more of a mentor than a commercial publisher. Many authors who got their first paid publishing credit with us have told me that working with us at the beginning of their careers helped them later on when dealing with less-forgiving publishers or when they came across less-scrupulous publishers.
Many authors seek publication with a publisher for validation or because they perceive a stigma to self-publishing. In 2016, self-publishing is a completely valid and respectable option for authors. Validation comes with getting paid: whether that payment comes from an actual publisher or an Amazon royalty report doesn't matter. Don't let a perceived stigma drive you into a publishing contract that may not be best for you.
If you are a project junkie with a strong business background and you are publishing in most mainstream commercial genres, particularly if your work is a series, you are probably better off self publishing that working with a small publisher. There is very little that you can't farm out and hire yourself, and if the work of identifying contractors to perform editing, design, formatting, and such doesn't scare you then I would be happy to point you to places you can find reputable service providers.
If, on the other hand, your work is more experimental, literary, or outside the commercial mainstream; if your work consists of mostly stand-alone novels instead of a series; if you have no interest whatsoever in running your own business and prefer to focus on your writing while someone else handles the publishing aspects, then you may be more interested in working with a small press.
In particular, if you are just starting down the road to building a publishing career, be honest with yourself as to what you really need as an author. Working with a publisher can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and provide a strong foundation to launch out on your own as an indie author later. Many of the most successful indie authors started out publishing traditionally, and "hybrid" authors who both self-publish and work with trade publishers simultaneously are becoming common.
Be honest with yourself regarding your creative goals, and make a decision accordingly.
General contract terms:
We do not pay advances.
We will never ask an author to pay for anything regarding the production, distribution, or marketing of a book.
We accept responsibility for all editing, proofreading, design, formatting, distribution, and marketing of the title. While we appreciate any support the author can put in to help promote the work, we never require that the author participate in specify promotional programs. I don't care about your "platform." I can about your story.
We acquire digital, print, and audio rights to the book. Contract length varies from two to five years, depending on the project.
The author will be given the opportunity to review the galley proof of a book before publication. Major editorial changes will always be discussed with the author in advance.
We pay a royalty of 40% of the net profits. Net profits are defined as those monies received from retailers or wholesalers for the sale of the book. We do not engage in "Hollywood" accounting practices and do not apply any other expenses or fees to the net profit calculation.
We pay monthly via Paypal or Google Wallet. If an author wishes to be paid by check, payments will only be made when royalties accrued are at least $25. Any month in which royalties are less than $25 will roll-over to the following month.
Author will receive two print copies of the published work and can purchase additional copies for his or her own use at 40% off the list price.
If, after reading all of this, you still want to pitch a project to us, make sure you have read our general submission guidelines first. All of our general terms and conditions still apply. I also suggest reading a few issues of The Bards and Sages Quarterly or some of our other books before submitting in order to get a better idea of the type of stuff we enjoy. Many authors get rejections not because of the quality of their work, but because they send projects to the wrong publishers. If you want to work with us, make sure you understand what we actually publish first.
It makes life easier for everyone.
Submission queries should be sent to our firstname.lastname@example.org address. Use the subject line Novel Query. Use that subject line even if the project is a short story collection. it will serve as a quick visual cue to differentiate the submission from our other projects.
Do NOT send the full manuscript. In the body of the email, send the following information:
Pen Name (if applicable)
Title of Prospective Work
Genre: We are open to novels and short story collections in all speculative genres (horror, fantasy, science fiction), magical realism, mysteries, thrillers, historical fiction, literary fiction, literary non-fiction. We will also consider poetry collections. We are not open to romances, erotica, Christian/religious fiction, memoirs, self-help, or children's books.
Estimated word count: Approximate final word count.
Synopsis: a brief synopsis of the story or project.
What makes this story special?: Tell me what makes your story unique. For example, does your story feature a protagonist from a traditionally marginalized minority? If a short story collection, have any of the stories previously won awards or otherwise been recognized? Is the subject matter of particularly relevence to a specific demographic?
Attach the first twenty pages of the project for review ss a Word.doc or Word-compatible attachment. Again, do not send the full manuscript at this time.
We will review the submission and determine if the work may potentially be a good fit with Bards and Sages. We will either decline the project or ask to see the full manuscript. If, after reviewing the final manuscript, we decide that the project is something we want to publish, we will offer a formal publishing contract. Please realize that even if we wanted to, as a micro press we can really only accomodate one or two projects a year in addition to our existing schedule, so if we do decline to publish your work, don't take it personally.