As a writer awaiting publication, I am the ideal mark for a certain family of scams. The most insidious of these include fake agents and vanity presses.
In general, it’s considered a bad idea for the author to spend a lot of money in obtaining a publisher. Reading fees are considered a gigantic red flag, as are other arrangements where the author pays the publisher or agent.
And maybe that’s why I took so long to open a Publishers Marketplace account.
What Changed my Mind?
Mostly, it was David Farland.
David Farland is the most influential author you’ve never heard of. Rest assured that other writers have heard of him. He’s mentored names such as Brandon Sanderson and Stephenie Meyer. He’s been in the industry for decades and knows how it works form the inside out, and he’s constantly sharing that knowledge with writers trying to break in.
He’s constantly putting out blog posts about it, too. But those are seen by only a handful of people. That I have more Twitter followers than this man is staggering. The entire writing community should be connected to him. He is that valuable a resource.
And he advises all writers procure a Publishers Marketplace account. Even though it costs $25 a month. It is an indispensable resource for people looking to get published.
What does an Account get You
Let me put it this way: before I got an account on Publishers Marketplace, my primary sources of information about agents and publishers came from a combination of QueryTracker, Amazon, and Google.
Between those three things, I can simulate about 75% of what Publisher’s Marketplace does on its own: finding agents and agencies, discovering which agents represent which authors/books, and which books got published where.
That missing 25% is mostly due to QueryTracker not having the most up-to-date information (Publisher’s Marketplace is a central information hub for the industry; everyone else uses them as a source). Also, finding publisher information on Amazon is not intuitive. And there are a surprising number of gaps in Google’s omniscience.
Another important point is that Publishers Marketplace shows you the kinds of books each agent has actually represented, as opposed to the books they wish they could represent. As a database, it trends toward technical correctness.
And even a little increase in accuracy can be the difference between sink or swim for someone who is looking to make a business connection.
I’ve only had an account for a few weeks, but it has already generated four new leads that I couldn’t have found through other methods. All said, I cannot yet tell whether these benefits are worth the cost. But I’m holding onto those benefits and those costs, for now.
I owe it to myself to leave no stone unturned.