How to Select a Publisher

Select a PublisherHow do you find a publisher who is right for you? Naturally, we’d like to suggest that we are. But depending on the type of book you want to write, we may not be the best choice if your book is not a match to our list. Speaking more generally, your choice of publisher can make a big difference in the quality and marketability of your book. In this article, we will help you think through some criteria to consider in your search.

Similar Titles

Does the publisher publish titles that are similar to yours? This is an indication that they can market your book. Also look on your own bookshelf. Who is publishing the types of books you want to write? That is no guarantee that they will publish your book, of course. But it’s a good starting place.

Production Quality

Something else to consider is the quality of other books they have published: paper, binding, and cover art. These things all make a difference in how readers perceive your book. You don’t want someone to decide not to buy your book because it looks so tacky.

Length of Production Cycle

The publisher’s production cycle is also important to consider. Production cycle is how long it takes from the time you turn in your manuscript to when it is ready to sell. Eight to nine months is fairly typical. I’ve had production cycles range from 2 months to 19 months. Ask a potential publisher this directly. If you know anyone who has published with them, ask them as well.

Backlist Sales

How long does the potential publisher keep books in print? Do they still sell books that are a few years old? Older titles are known as a publisher’s “backlist.” Over the lifecycle of a book, backlist sales can be significant. So you may want to steer clear of publishers who seem to publish, and then dump significant numbers of titles.


The initial search for a publisher can be intimidating. But remember that publishers want to find talented writers. Be prepared to talk about your project when the opportunity presents itself. Be enthusiastic and accessible. And try to relax. Believe it or not, pitching book ideas can actually be fun. And one day, someone will think your book is just what they are looking for.

Kathleen Kendall-Tackett

Kathleen Kendall-Tackett

Dr. Kendall-Tackett is a health psychologist and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and the Owner and Editor-in-Chief of Praeclarus Press, a small press specializing in women's health. Dr. Kendall-Tackett is Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Lactation, Fellow of the American Psychological Association in Health and Trauma Psychology, President of the APA Division of Trauma Psychology, and Editor-in-Chief-elect of Psychological Trauma. She is a Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Texas Tech University School of Medicine in Amarillo, Texas and Research Associate at the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.

Dr. Kendall-Tackett specializes in women's-health research including breastfeeding, depression, trauma, and health psychology. Her research interests include the psychoneuroimmunology of maternal depression and the lifetime health effects of trauma.
Kathleen Kendall-Tackett

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