I went to a convention over last weekend; this was the first time I'd been to this one since my book came out, and I guess you could call this my "home convention", it's the one where I know the most people. I had an absolutely awesome time, stretched myself way too thin on Saturday night (what's wrong with three rituals in a row--and I don't mean just attending!) By the end of the night I was running on pure adrenaline...just like most people on Saturday night at any kind of con, but a Pagan spirituality convention...yeah, adrenaline, magic, caffeine, and duct tape are what hold the universe together.
I met a lot of wonderful people and really enjoyed talking to everybody that stopped by my table to see me.
But something odd happened, too. It isn't actually the first time I've had this sort of conversation--and it's not a conversation I mind having--it just got me to thinking. Why is it that just because someone writes a book that gets published other people (not all, but enough) start assuming you have the Keys to the Kingdom? Some folks didn't even ask "what kind of book is it?" or "what else does your publisher print?", they just said, "how cool, whose you're publisher? My friend, uncle, brother, sister's boyfriend's niece wrote a novel and they'd love to get published, too!"
That's terrific! Half the battle is finishing the darned novel. I'll be totally happy to pass along whatever information I have that might be useful, but if your sister's boyfriend's niece wrote a literary novel, I'm not going to be much help. Even if my publisher did handle literary novels (which they don't), I'm nobody special, honest. I'm just a writer.
And anyway, why can't your sister's boyfriend's niece do the same thing I did? It wasn't hard: I went to Amazon and typed in "gay male romance". When a book comes up on Amazon, the publisher is listed. I visited different publisher's websites and checked out their submission guidelines. I checked Editors and Predators. I made a list reputable publishers, their submission requirements, contract terms (where noted), I added notes of my own, and I bought books from each of the publishers I would seriously consider sending my "baby" off to. It wasn't hard to rank the publishers I found from "top picks" to "middle picks" to "not first or second choice, but not scary" to "Hell no!" Yes, there really are a couple of publishers in that category. No, I won't name names. It's a personal choice; there are simply some titles I don't want mine sharing self space with. Yes, I am perfectly well aware that that makes me a snob.
I am all for helping other people, especially other writers (if we don't help each other, who will?) But just because I got one book published doesn't mean I have any great wisdom on the subject (although I try to keep up with the industry as much as I can). It doesn't mean that my name is going to get your foot in the door. Will I read some of your book and tell you what I think? Sure, if I have time--and if you write in the same market I do. I love talking to m/m writers; I don't mind sharing my list.
But honest, I don't have the Keys to the Kingdom. I don't even know where they are.