Check out their site. First things first, I check out the website. Yes, even if I am submitting to a magazine or the book publisher, I first go to the site. Why is this step #1? Because if their site is amateurish I can skip steps 2-4 and go back to writing. Does this make me sound like a mean girl? If so, too bad. I don’t want to sell my work to someone whose work I don’t respect. Rude, perhaps. Realistic, definitely.
Guidelines. Next I read their guidelines or look for an online market listing. First things first, I check the rights they buy. If they want all rights, I have to really adore the market. After I check the rights, I check to see what they pay. Copies? Adios. I can’t send copies to the electric company. “Payment varies.” Not much chance I’m going to work with you either. I appreciate a degree of transparency.
Google. If I like everything I’ve seen so far, I google the editor or publisher. What am I looking for? Interviews for editors but also any complaints. Has anyone posted about a problem? The internet is full of cranks but if the publisher isn’t paying people, these boots were made for walkin’.
Their Products. No matter how much other research I do, if I’m still interested in a publisher or editor, I check out their work. I can read interviews and market listings but I won’t truly know what they mean by quirky or upbeat until I see it in print. For more on how important this last step is, check out my post for yesterday on the Muffin.