Acquisitions Process

A common question I’m often asked at conferences or in emails is: what is our acquisition process like here at CBAY Books?

So, in an effort to be very clear (and as an excuse to play with Microsoft Vissio), I created a flowchart of the acquisition process.

Acquisitions Chart

It’s all color-coded, so you can see that there is a lot that the editor does (green) and very little the author (orange) can do. There are also eleven different times you can be rejected, a minimum of five times you can be asked to rewrite — after all that process could easily turn into an endless feedback loop — but you have to follow all the little arrows, and in order, if you want to get published.

Now, of course, this is more the way of a slightly larger small press like Blooming Tree rather than CBAY. Since at CBAY Books it’s pretty much just me, I get to be editor, editorial board, marketing and publisher all in one. But I do make P&Ls, run market analysis, and consider a manuscript’s merit. On the other hand, it’s just me, not several committees. If I like the manuscript, the market’s promising, the numbers work, you complement my house’s list, and the money’s there, you’re probably going to get published. Of course, it’s still pretty rare that all those things align. (Particularly getting those numbers to work. Tricky little numbers.)

And these are just the steps at a small press with only 7 people. Imagine what it’s like at the large houses. Hopefully, this will help you put any rejection you may have ever gotten in your writing career in perspective.

It also demonstrates just how miraculous it is that anything ever gets published.