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Thank you for your interest in publishing with The Crossroad Publishing Company. We are always seeking new projects that use the power of words to awaken wisdom in readers.
We receive proposals from various people —current authors and people recommended by current authors, current readers of our books, book agents, and people we meet at conferences, as well as authors approaching us for the first time with unsolicited manuscripts.
We welcome unsolicited proposals. We do our utmost to get back to you in six to eight weeks. However, due to the frequently high volume of manuscripts received we cannot commit to a certain time frame, and the corporation is not responsible for the return of any manuscript (whether sent electronically or by mail), nor do we guarantee a response. Further, in receiving a submission, we do not assume any duty not to publish another book based on a similar idea, concept, or story.
Our experience is that many authors have powerful and potentially life-changing ideas emerging from their training, study, and experience, but they have not identified the best way to communicate their wisdom. Your ideas are not new to you, but they are new to the person who will be reading your work. So before you send a submission, the most important thing is to do your own research about publishing in general and about the potential audience for your specific proposal. The Internet offers many opportunities to learn about the publishing industry (e.g. Writer's Market, Publishers Weekly, and online bookstores) and your subject matter (online discussions, books, reviews, etc.)
Establish who the reader is (try to be as specific as possible, e.g., age, profession, income, family status, etc.) and who truly wants and is helped by your book, and research what the marketplace is like for your book. Are there already other books similar to yours available, and how are they selling? (The rankings of online bookstores, although not a scientific measure, can give an indication of a book's sales.) The more research you've undertaken into the market, the better chance your proposal (and book, if later published) will have.
Give thought as well to how you will support your book if it gets published. The success of a book depends on the author connecting with readers through readings, talks, articles, and interviews. Although the publisher enhances this dynamic through advertising, PR work, and other promotions, marketing just speeds up the process -- it cannot force demand.
The following are basic guidelines for submitting your proposal to The Crossroad Publishing Company. The ideal proposal offers the following elements:
- Proposal title. (Note that we work intensively on developing and testing titles, and the title you propose may not be the final title.)
- A 40-word description / sales pitch of the project
- Two-to three paragraph description of the project—no longer than 1 page
- Intended format (text-only printed book, e-book, printed book with heavy illustration)
- Table of contents
- Endorsements that support your book, ideally by publicly known persons -- for example, other authors
- Approximate length (in words, not in pages)
- A mostly finished manuscript. Although we do at times accept proposals for unwritten books, changing industry standards and sales practices require a finished text at a very early stage in the publishing process.
- Evaluation of what is unique about the book (e.g., takes a unique stand on a particular issue, introduces material not readily available, explains in accessible language material that has previously been discussed in technical language). Please also include a discussion of other published books in the field and the way your work relates to them.
- Intended audience. Discussion of who you think will buy and read the book (e.g., groups of people as defined by a common denominator, readers of a specific book and / or magazine, members of associations, etc.), and discuss and review it (e.g. reviewers, newspapers, journals).
- Resume or C.V. with cover letter. This should explain why you are the best person to write on this topic.
- Bibliography, including articles you have written and / or courses / talks / workshops you have given. If you have an audio or video of yourself giving an address, please let us know that it is available. Also, please let us know if you are currently under contract with another publisher for another project.
- Please send only e-mail proposals; do not send original art, photographs, recordings, or other unique materials. We do not assume liability for such materials and cannot guarantee their return. If additional materials are needed, send a copy only, such as a digital recording or photo in .jpg format.
- Please keep in mind that while the review of manuscripts is an assessment of the value of the ideas and writing, we must also, in fairness to you and your work, evaluate whether we are the most suitable house for your manuscript's intended audience, given our current publishing plans.
Frequently Asked Questions
- “On what basis do you accept or decline a proposal?” The publishing industry is in the midst of a radical transformation, and most traditional models for book publishing are not viable any longer as a result of, among other things, new digital media and other groundbreaking technologies, as well as a widespread decline in copyright compliance. When we review a proposal, we ask whether we can reach a defined audience who will find this particular book a necessity they are willing to pay for.
- “Do you offer joint venture publishing?” In some cases, the editors have identified a book’s content as excellent but the projected sales are not high enough to allow us to prefinance the project (as done in conventional publishing models). In such cases, joint venture publishing allows authors to co-invest in a book to help us offset prepress costs. In such cases, we offer a higher share of the returns. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
- “Do I need an agent?” No. Many of our bestselling and best-reviewed titles have come to us without agents.
- “Do you offer advances?” The idea behind an advance is to support the author during the time of writing. However, in recent years advances have sometimes been used as an expression of anticipated success or as a negotiating tool. We prefer to invest as much as possible into the production and promotion of the book itself, and then are happy to share the profits of the financial outcome of this book with the author. Therefore, generally we do not offer advances.
- “May I e-mail my submission?” Yes, we only accept e-mail submissions.
- “May I fax my submission?” No, please don’t.
- “Whom do I call to talk about my manuscript idea?” We discourage phone calls regarding new proposals that have not yet been submitted by e-mail. We receive a high number of submissions, and time spent on the phone without a submitted proposal available is time that we could have used to work on specific proposals. Don’t call unless you have been in conversation with us in the past regarding one of your projects. It’s difficult to get a strong sense of your project over the phone, and only when we see something on paper can we assess whether your specific approach to a topic is viable for our market and readership.
- “May I submit to more than one publisher simultaneously?” Yes, however we appreciate knowing whether you are submitting simultaneously. If we begin serious discussion with you about publishing your book, we will ask that you put any other discussions on hold and sign a letter of intent.
- “Do you release electronic and audio editions?” Yes, we do.
- “My book was declined by Great Big Famous House. Should I feel bad?” GBFH sometimes declines terrific books that go on to sell well and bring prestige to their authors. Take all declines (including ours, if that should happen) with a grain of salt, and press ahead with your message.
- “Can you help me distribute my project widely?” Yes, we work with the Independent Publishers Group (IPG) on sales and distribution. IPG’s impressive sales force visits all larger chains, and most independent and specialized bookstores at least once each publishing season. They are also in constant phone and e-mail contact with our trade customers; for example, IPG has one person on staff who deals only with Amazon. IPG is one of the largest U.S. book sales and distribution companies, and so our books receive the same exposure and promotional support that any great publisher can offer.
- “How will you publicize my book?” Not every book needs an outside publicist, but when appropriate, we partner with outstanding publicists, both at IPG and other companies.
- “Will you advertise my book?” Yes, we regularly advertise in a wide selection of magazines and websites. Much of the advertising we do, consumers will never see because it goes directly to trade outlets that are frequented by professionals such as booksellers, librarians, and teachers who we ask to review, stock, and recommend our books. We also run a number of program ads during each season that may include your book depending on audience and subject matter. Finally, we run individual ads with the goal of informing a specific audience we believe will be interested in the book about its existence, i.e. we inform a certain audience that is already interested in the book’s topic about its publication.