Submitting to Digital Presses by Saritza Hernandez

I’m delighted to introduce 5writers.com’s first agent guest blogger. E-Pub Agent extraordinaire and avid coffee-drinker, Saritza Hernandez is as short and simple as this paragraph. Give her a good paranormal or fantasy romance, a giant mug of strong Cuban coffee and a corner to put her feet up to read, and she’s one happy camper!

As the first literary agent to focus on representing authors in the digital marketplace, Saritza has spent the last two years growing her list of authors and focusing her attention on ensuring the new wave of digital publishing is one her clients can safely navigate. With more than 10 years of experience in the publishing industry, Saritza has worked almost every job there is in the publishing industry including technical production for the e-textbook industry. Her love of the business side of the industry led her to accept a junior agent position at the L. Perkins Agency and eventually the move to the Corvisiero Literary Agency as their senior literary agent and digital publishing consultant.

Saritza represents both new and established authors and is currently looking for well-written romance featuring strong characters finding their happily ever after in the following sub-genres:

•    Intercultural romance
•    BDSM erotica/erotic romance
•    Sci-Fi/Fantasy romance
•    Steampunk & Cyberpunk romance
•    Historical romance (emphasis on Ancient Egypt, Caribbean/MesoAmerican)
•    Paranormal romance
•    M/M, F/F, GLBT-themed erotic romance, erotica & general fiction

Saritza is also interested in GLBT themed YA.

You can find her blog at saritzahernandez.blogspot.com.

Submitting To Digital Presses

You’d be surprised how many people approach me at conferences or email me directly to ask about direct submissions to digital small presses. I’m not sure if it’s because authors see I work primarily in the digital marketplace and think I can direct them faster than a Google search or they see I’m touted as the first “epub agent” and think I have some inside information they can use to “properly” submit their works. Truth is, a simple Google search can yield you the same results I can provide with a quicker turnaround. Of course, like any other Google search, knowing what to look for is the most difficult aspect of the research process and with so many possibilities for misinformation in the information superhighway, it helps to have a compass.

So what DO you do when you’ve completed a manuscript and want to submit the work to a publisher? One of the best aspects of the digital publishing industry is its ease-of-use and ready information. Many digital small presses accept direct submissions (those without the aid of a literary agent) and include their submission process within their submission guidelines. In the romance genre, some digital small presses have even found their NYT and USA Today bestseller titles through a simple call for submissions or by simply having an “open access” submission process.

Do some research before you submit your work.

There are hundreds of digital imprints and digitally-based small presses to choose from and just as you would research the doctor you take your children to, you need to research the publisher you plan to hand your baby to. Are they a digital small press or a vanity publisher? Can you tell the difference? There are great resources about this at Writer Beware so keep yourself informed. General rule of thumb, you shouldn’t pay someone else to make money off of your talent. If a “fee” or “up front costs” are requested by the publisher this is not a publisher you want to work with.

Follow submission guidelines.

Check the publisher websites and submit the work according to their submission guidelines. If you have to reformat your manuscript differently for each publisher, take the time to do so. Your work will need to pass their acquisitions editor and if the work is not properly formatted they can reject it even before reading it. Avoid the heart ache and frustration of unnecessary rejections with this simple first step.

You may not need a literary agent but having one is crucial once you have an offer in hand.

Don’t underestimate the need for a literary agent while shopping your manuscript at the digital small presses. You may not need someone to get you in these doors, but agents know the industry and can not only help you negotiate a better deal, they can help you navigate the sea of digital imprints and small presses popping up everywhere. Not sure which agent to go with? Check Chuck Sambuchoino’s Guide to Literary Agents for new agents looking to fill their lists. While many don’t focus on pitching to digital small presses, the rapidly changing face of publishing is generating younger agents looking for titles to pitch to these new digital imprints at the traditional New York publishing houses and digital small presses.

Looking for digital small presses to submit your work to?

Most of the following publishers are romance because that’s what my primary focus and I know they accept unagented submissions but research online for what works best for your needs.

Samhain Publishing
Entangled Publishing
Carina Press (digital imprint of Harlequin, Ltd.)
Loveswept (digital imprint of Random House)
Impulse (digital imprint of Avon Romance)
Ellora’s Cave
Loose Id, LLC
Sourcebooks
Boroughs Publishing Group

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